Doctor warns parents of battery swallowing risk for children

A paediatric doctor has warned parents of the risk of their children swallowing button-sized batteries.

Head of the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital paediatric emergency department, Malcolm Higgins, said there could be complications for children if parents failed to notice any incident swiftly.

“It has the potential to cause serious injury if it isn’t detected reasonably promptly,” Dr Higgins said.

“If the battery lodges in a spot in the oesophagus or elsewhere in the digestive tract, it can cause damage to the lining.

“In most circumstances, there are no symptoms.”

Dr Higgins said parents needed to watch for any unusual behaviour in their children, particularly abnormal drooling or a child having trouble swallowing.

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide sees about six cases annually.

South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling said it was timely to remind parents about the battery risks in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Of course, being round and shiny and small they can be very attractive to small hands and small mouths,” he said.

“Parents have to make sure these aren’t kept where little hands can get to them.”