Aug. 30, 2022 -- More kids accidentally swallowed button batteries in recent years – with more than twice as many battery-related ER visits from 2010 to 2019 compared to 1990 to 2009, a new study says.
Button batteries are the small, disk-shaped batteries that are common in watches, toys, remote controls, and other everyday household items.
Between 2010 and 2019, hospital emergency rooms reported 70,322 battery-related visits among U.S. children under the age of 18, according to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.
That works out to one every 1.25 hours – compared to one every 2.6 hours between 1990 and 2009, the study reported.
Most of the children were younger than 6, and button batteries were most commonly involved. In most cases, the batteries were ingested, but some children put the batteries in their ears and nostrils.
“What we found was quite concerning,” study co-author Kris Jatana, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told USA Today. “The emergency department visit rate was more than double what it was the two prior decades.”
In mid-August, President Joe Biden signed Reese's Law, named for an 18-month-old girl who died after swallowing a button battery in 2020 that slipped out of a remote control. Manufacturers will soon be required to use warning labels and childproof packaging.
The new study was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.