The Dangers of Button Batteries: A Nurse Practitioner's Near Miss
You covered the outlets, bolted in the dressers, locked up the medicine cabinet; but have you still left something very dangerous in your children’s reach?
I spend a good portion of my day asking my daughter to give my son a little space; sister loves hard!
Recently, my son was playing in the kitchen (right next to me) when my daughter suddenly came in, sat behind him and looked like she was doing the Heimlich on him. As I was telling her to back away slowly, I noticed he was trying to put something in his mouth and wasn’t able to due to her pestering... and then I wanted to throw up. It was a button battery. A tiny battery that he could have swallowed without difficulty, and without me ever knowing it.
Last year, more than 470 children visited the Cook Children's Emergency Department after swallowing a "foreign body." Most objects that children ingest can be passed without much concern, but a battery is not one of those things. A battery lodged in the esophagus is a medical emergency. Essentially it can erode the lining of the esophagus. They are very dangerous and can be deadly without treatment.
As a previous pediatric ICU nurse and currently a primary care nurse practitioner at the Willow Park office, I knew this. I warn others of this danger. So how did it almost happen 2 feet from me?
I suddenly remembered my daughter was wearing a headband that lit up the day before, and she accidentally pulled the back off spilling the batteries. I thought I had picked up all the batteries, but one was hiding under the kitchen mat.
After thanking my daughter for her brother obsession, I went on a mission to locate all the button batteries in the house.
- Hearing aids
- Clothing/headbands/jewelry that light up (holiday plastic jewelry)
- Greeting cards that sing
- Car keys
- Flameless candles
- Laser pointers
Keeping these babies safe is a hard job, for ALL of us! Doing a quick scan of the house to make sure no batteries they could easily swallow are in their reach is a good step towards safety.
For more on this topic, read:
- Number of Kids Seen in ER for Swallowing Small Objects Doubles Over Past Two Decades
- Button Battery Injury Prevention Safe Kids
- Choosing Safe Baby Products
- Is Your Home Safe for Baby?
- Is This an Emergency?
Get to know Sperry Binnicker, RN, MSN, CPNP
Sperry is a nurse practitioner at Willow Park. graduated with honors from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. While at Texas Tech, she was active in the Texas Nurses Students' Association as the Senior Programs and Projects Director.
Sperry joined Cook Children's in 2009 in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). In that role, she earned the Daisy Award, an award given to a nurse that is nominated and selected by the parents of patients for excellence in patient care. She continued her education while working full time and received her master's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in May of 2015.
She is a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
Sperry lives in Aledo with her husband, Sandy, a police officer with Haltom City, her daughter, Gracie, who was born in 2014 and her son, Brady, born in 2018.