The things children swallow ….

Immediately a child can crawl, everything they can lay their hands on ends up in their mouths – everything is experienced by tasting it first. Because admissions to hospital as a result of swallowing dangerous foreign objects are not very common, there are only a few studies that have been published – it is hard to get data from Africa. But the few studies on hospital admissions for children that have swallowed some foreign object – report pretty much the same thing…

Spanish study showing, about 40% swallow fish bones and 20% coins but under 1’s mainly swallowed plastic objects

American study showed 46% swallowed coins

The most commonly swallowed foreign objects by little children are coins, fish bones and button batteries. And of these, the most dangerous are the small batteries that are increasingly common in many toys.

Button battery

With paraffin/kerosene poisoning, people have the mistaken belief that making the child vomit will help – when in fact it makes a bad situation worse. I have written about the dangers of paraffin/kerosene poisoning before and that blog is crucial if you are a mum who keeps kerosene in the house……

Poisoning in little children

With small batteries, many may think, it’s only small and will pass through the gut and will not do much harm but these small batteries are extremely dangerous when swallowed by little children.

A review conducted by Shruti Jayachandra, Guy D. Eslick from Australia demonstrated that button batteries cause the most complications if not removed immediately

Damaged caused by button batteries

Button batteries cause injuries by leaking and burning through the gut. Lithium batteries can cause more damage than other button batteries.

Lithium button batteries

A study conducted in South Korea looked at different damage caused by different batteries.

Korean study on impact of different battery types

They found that irrespective of size, Lithium batteries caused more damage than other types. They concluded that it was not just that the battery leaked and burned into the tissue more but that the current generated by the battery while in the gut, caused more damage than the leaking. Lithium batteries produced a higher voltage and therefore more damage. Newer batteries were more dangerous than old used ones.

A report by the BBC demonstrates just how serious things can get if a child swallows a battery and it is not detected on time…….

Case study of child that swallowed a button battery

Its crucial to check that button batteries in your children’s toys are not loose and that they do not fall off easily….