Guidance for the safe use of Button & Coin Cells

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We’re beginning to expect things to get smaller and more portable, as technology advances. This means the batteries powering them have to get smaller too. Button and coin cells are are becoming more popular in everyday devices. You can find them in a number of household appliances such as: watches, remote controls, hearing aids, car keys and even birthday cards. Toys too, are starting to use more button and coin cells instead of the usual AAA’s, AA’s C’s and D’s.

Unfortunately accidents involving these cells continue to occur around the world. The size of these cells means they are susceptible to unintentionally being ingested by children. Just like any small object, small batteries pose a serious risk to their health. The European Portable Battery Association have released the following information to help reduce the risk associated with batteries and advice on what to do, if the worst occurs.

Practical tips for parents to limit the risks of battery ingestion by children:

  • Store all small batteries out of sight and reach of young children.
  • When opening a pack which includes multiple button/coin cells, make sure that children cannot access the batteries which remain in the open packs.
  • Make certain that the battery compartment of any household product is securely closed and child-resistant, and/or the product is stored out of the reach of young children.
  • Avoid storing small batteries in pillboxes or setting them out with medication. Their shape and size make them easily mistaken for medication.

What to do when your child has ingested a button/coin cell:

  • In the event of battery ingestion, seek immediate medical attention at a hospital emergency room.
  • Do not let your child eat or drink until an X-ray can determine if a battery is present.
  • If you still have the battery packaging or the device containing the battery take this with you to help the doctor identify the battery type and chemistry.
  • For further advice, you can also contact your national anti-poison centre.


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