button battery burns
This button battery was placed on a slice of deli meat for two hours, demonstrating what can happen to a child's internal organs after swallowing a button battery.

Keep in mind your child's age and brain development for their safety. Many toy-related injuries can be easily prevented if all the possible dangers are considered.

Kristel Wetjen, RN pediatric trauma program manager and Lauren O'Donnell, coordinator for the injury prevention program at University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, offer some helpful tips to ensure your child's safety when it comes to toys and the hazards they can cause:

Keep button batteries out of reach

Button batteries are the small, flat, lithium batteries used in most items like toys, remote controls, watches, and car key fobs. If swallowed, the button battery starts to release a charge as soon as it comes into contact with the moist lining of digestive or respiratory tracts, causing potential severe burns.

In order to keep these hazardous parts away from children, be sure to:

  • Be aware of button batteries and where they are located in your home.
  • Secure items containing button batteries with a screw. If this is not possible, use tape.
  • Tape the battery compartment shut of remote controls.
  • Store loose button batteries out of reach of children.
  • Go to an emergency room immediately if you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery. Injuries related to button batteries can worsen very quickly with minor symptoms.
    • If your child is 12 months old or older and you suspect they may have swallowed a disc battery or button battery -sometime -within the last 12 hours, give them 10 mL (two teaspoons) of honey every 10 minutes. Do not delay an emergency room visit to administer honey.

Be aware of the dangers of products that you own

Keep track of where items are and when your child is in contact with them. If you have children who are in different age groups, be mindful that toys that are appropriate for older kids still may need to be kept out of reach of younger children.

Keep all toys in a secured bag or box

After play time is over, be sure to place all toys in a secure place. This way, children will not be able to access the toys when you are not around.

Check recalls on products that you already own

To ensure your child's safety, make sure the toys that you already have are still safe. You can sign up for emails about recalls on certain toy products.

Visit the Safety Store at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital

The Safety Store is stocked with injury prevention products that can help keep potential dangers out of reach of children, such as cabinet and door locks. Anything that can lessen or prevent an injury can be found at the Safety Store.

The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available 24 hours a day for consultation and can be reached at 1-800-498-8666. As always, in case of an emergency, call 911.