Skip to content

First Aid & Emergencies

Font Size

Swallowed Button Disc Battery, Magnet, or Object With Lead - Topic Overview

Button disc batteries

Button disc batteries are found in watches, cameras, calculators, hearing aids, and computer games. They are easily swallowed by children. These batteries, which contain corrosive fluids, can come apart when swallowed and quickly damage tissue. Some batteries contain potentially life-threatening amounts of mercury.

A disc battery can cause burning, corrosion, or complete destruction of tissue in the upper digestive tract when swallowed. Damage can occur rapidly and is likely to be worse if the battery lodges in the esophagus instead of moving into the stomach. Battery fluid can eat through the lining of the stomach, causing pain and tenderness in the belly, nausea, and fever.

Recommended Related to First Aid

Treating Cuts and Bleeding in Children

Your child is bleeding heavily. The wound is deep. The edges of the wound are gaping. The wound is spurting blood. You can't stop the bleeding after 10 minutes of direct pressure. An object has punctured the skin and is still in the body. The cut involves the eye or the cartilage of the nose or ear.  

Read the Treating Cuts and Bleeding in Children article > >

If you think someone has swallowed a disc battery:

  • Do not cause (induce) vomiting.
  • Call your doctor immediately to arrange for care.
    • If your doctor is not immediately available, go to a hospital emergency room.
    • Medical treatment is usually needed within 1 hour of swallowing a battery.

Magnets

Magnets are often found in toys and magnetic play sets. Magnets can be easily swallowed. They can stick to the bowel and cause a blockage or a hole to form. If more than one magnet is swallowed, they could stack together or magnetically join across loops of the intestines and cause serious problems.

Swallowing a magnet may cause symptoms similar to other abdominal problems, such as feeling sick to the stomach (nausea), vomiting, belly pain, or diarrhea.

If you think someone has swallowed a magnet:

  • Do not cause (induce) vomiting.
  • Call your doctor to discuss the problem. Medical treatment may be needed.

Objects with lead

Objects that contain a lot of lead (such as bullets, buckshot, fishing weights and sinkers, and some toys) also can cause problems if swallowed.

Lead poisoning may cause behavior changes, lack of energy, or headaches.

If you think someone has swallowed an object with a lot of lead:

  • Do not cause (induce) vomiting.
  • Call your doctor to discuss the problem. Medical treatment may be needed.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 03, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Swallowed Button Disc Battery, Magnet, or Object With Lead Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Antibiotic on hand
    Slideshow
    3d scan of fractured skull
    Slideshow
     
    Father putting ointment on boy's face
    Slideshow
    Person taking food from oven
    Q&A
     
    sniffling child
    Slideshow
    wound care true or false
    Slideshow
     
    caring for wounds
    Slideshow
    Harvest mite
    Slideshow
     

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    WebMD the app

    Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

    Find Out More