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A dangerous convenience

Our world runs by remote control—cars, TVs and other devices start with the push of a button. Many are powered by coin lithium batteries. These batteries pose a dangerous risk to small children that may swallow them. Most of these gadgets have battery compartments that can be easily opened by children. This creates a hidden danger, even in homes where safety is top of mind.

An increasing risk to young children
The number of cases where children have been seriously hurt or have died has more than quadrupled in the past five years. In 2010, there were more than 3,500 cases involving swallowing button batteries reported to U.S. poison control centers. In more than a third of incidents, the batteries have come out of remote control devices.

When a battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva can trigger an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours. This burning reaction can continue even after the battery is removed. Repairing the damage is painful and can require feeding tubes, breathing tubes and multiple surgeries.

Protect children
* Search your home and any place your child goes for gadgets that may contain coin lithium batteries.
* Secure coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children and keep loose batteries locked away.
* Recycle batteries safely at The Recycling Zone.
* Share this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family members and sitters.

If a child swallows a battery, go to the emergency room right away. Do not let the child eat or drink and do not induce vomiting.

Coin-sized button batteries are found in everyday devices such as:
* Mini-remote control devices that control portable DVD players and MP3 speakers
* Key fobs that unlock car doors
* Calculators
* Bathroom scales
* Reading lights
* Flameless candles
* Talking and singing books and greeting cards
* Digital thermometers


*To learn more, visit:*
TheBatteryControlled.com
Save Kids USA

We’re working to enhance child safety
Public Health and other Dakota County departments work with parents, schools, worksites, and community groups to increase awareness of safety risks and promote steps to protect children from injury. Visit our website for more information about safe recycling of batteries and child passenger safety.

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The Dakota County Public Health Department is committed to keeping residents safe and healthy through disease prevention programs, health promotion and education, and emergency preparedness activities. For more information or questions about the work of Public Health, visit us online.

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