What should you do if your child has swallowed a battery, especially the button battery type? Of course it’s natural to panic, knowing the devastating effects these can have on your child’s body. While you might make your child gag or rush them to hospital, a new study is suggesting a simple method that can potentially save lives.
If Your Child Has Swallowed a Battery, Try Giving Them Honey*
*Please note that honey is NOT recommended for babies under the age of one, due to the risk of botulism.
According to a team of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, USA, eating honey after swallowing a battery can reduce the risk of serious injuries in children.
They add that serious damage can occur within just two hours of eating a battery, so it’s a good idea to act quickly during this time frame.
Batteries — especially button batteries — pose a serious threat to children since they can be mistaken for candies or sweets. Curious kids can swallow loose batteries which can cause serious damage because of the chemicals inside.
That’s because when kids eat batteries, their saliva starts a chemical reaction which creates caustic chemicals. These chemicals are strong enough to dissolve the tissues in a child’s throat.
Symptoms of battery swallowing include sore throat, cough, fever, trouble swallowing etc. Those symptoms can also escalate to much more serious complications such as esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis, or erosion of the airway or blood vessels. The longer the battery stays inside the child, the greater the risk.
The researchers were trying to look for a means to prevent these serious injuries, and stumbled upon honey as the best substance to use.
They also tested fruit juices such as lemon juice, which were also effective; however kids didn’t like the taste of it. Honey was easier to give to kids and had a protective effect.
According to them, if your child swallows a battery, giving a teaspoon of honey every 5-10 minutes is crucial. This should be done right up until they can be taken to the hospital.
Honey has the ability to “create a protective barrier between the tissue and the battery, as well as neutralize harsh alkaline levels” and this is exactly how it can save your child, if they swallow a battery.
What Are Other Ways that Parents Can Keep Their Kids Safe?
Here are some important reminders when it comes to keeping your child safe from swallowing a battery:
- Keep any and all batteries away from your child’s reach. Place them in a secure container that your child can’t open.
- Throw out any old batteries. Old batteries should not be kept at home since the chemicals they contain can pose a health risk. Make sure to take them to the proper waste disposal facility.
- Make sure that all the toys they have which contain batteries are secure. If the covers are loose, make sure to place tape over them to prevent the batteries from falling out.
- If your child has swallowed a battery, make sure to take them to a hospital ASAP. In the meantime, feed them a teaspoon of honey every 5-10 minutes to prevent serious injury.
- Here are some important numbers that you can call should your child accidentally swallow a battery:
- Non-Emergency Ambulance 1777
- Ame 6247 7080
- Blesswell 6273 0147
- Econ 6382 8888
- ER 6222 2995
- Green Crescent 6788 8911
- Heng Gref 6788 8911
- Civic Ambulance 6333 3000
- Don’t induce vomiting. The best thing to do would be to take your child to a hospital right away. Vomiting can cause further injury, so it would be best to avoid doing so.
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