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Swallowing Batteries a Growing Risk for Kids

Increase in Battery Ingestion Linked to Increased Use of Lithium Cell Batteries

How Batteries Are Obtained by Kids and Adults

The second study, also conducted by Litovitz and his team, looked at how children and adults obtained the batteries and what kinds of prevention strategies could be implemented. They found that:

  • Ingested batteries were removed directly from the household products nearly 62% of the time.    
  • Batteries were loose nearly 29% of the time.
  • Batteries were obtained directly from battery packaging 8.2% of the time.
  • More than 37% of the 20-millimeter lithium batteries that were ingested were for remote controls.

Battery ingestion was also a problem among teens, adults, and elderly adults, particularly those ages 60 and older, the researchers reported.  Batteries intended for hearing aids were implicated in 36.3% of ingestions and were mistaken for pills in 15.5% of ingestions, many times by older adults.

"Parents and child care providers should be taught to prevent battery ingestions," Litovitz and his team write. "Because 61.8% of batteries that were ingested by children were obtained from products, manufacturers should redesign household products to secure the battery compartment, possibly requiring a tool to open it."

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