Button Battery Ingestion on the Rise

Every three hours, a child under the age of 18 will show up at an emergency room to be treated for button battery ingestion and that rate is accelerating, according to a new study published in the online version of Pediatrics magazine this week. The first description of a button battery ingestion fatality in the medical literature was published in 1977, when a two and a half-year-old child swallowed a camera battery. Today, the nation’s emergency rooms see an estimated 3,289 children annually for button battery ingestion, according to Pediatric Battery-Related Emergency Department Visits in the United States, 1990-2009. Over the 20-year period of the study, the researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio examined a nationally representative sample from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and found that such visits had significantly increased during the last eight years of the study.