Santé Montréal


- Public, Children's Health, News, Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)

Avoid devastating injuries caused by button batteries

Évitez les blessures dévastatrices causées par les piles boutons

A simulation of the Montreal Children's Hospital

The Montréal Children's Hospital simulated the ingestion of a button battery to show just how devastating ingestion can be. Within the first 2 hours, the battery caused severe damage to the meat sample, demonstrating just how important it is to remain vigilant. If a child has swallowed a button battery inadvertently, seek care at a Pediatric Trauma Centre immediately. It is a medical emergency.

Button batteries are small, coin-shaped and are found in musical books, interactive toys, remote controls, pens and calculators, among others. These shiny batteries can attract infants and toddlers who can easily put them in their mouths, ears or up their noses in a moment of unsupervised curiosity.

Pens can also contain them, and teenagers who put pens in their mouth can inadvertently ingest them when chewing on the backs of pens that contain them. Button batteries are a major safety concern because when swallowed, the battery coating erodes in a child’s digestive tract. Battery acids can then cause internal burns and create life-threatening holes in a child’s vital organs.

Follow these guidelines to help keep kids safe

  • If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, head to a pediatric Emergency Department IMMEDIATELY. The battery must be removed within 2 hours to prevent any internal burns.
  • Check products that use button batteries to see if the battery compartment requires a screwdriver or other tool to open it. Make sure all battery compartments are securely closed. Do not give a child any toy in which the battery compartment can be opened easily.
  • Keep products that use button batteries out of the reach of unsupervised children.
  • Watch kids carefully whenever they use devices containing batteries.
  • Regardless of whether your child’s toys are old or new, regularly check their state to ensure they aren’t broken, cracked or unassembled. If they are, remove them from your child’s toy rotation until they are fixed and safe.
  • Store all unused batteries out of the sight and reach of children. Recycle or dispose of used batteries properly. Many communities have battery drop-off bins where you can take your used batteries.

See the Facebook video! (in French)


Public, Children's Health, News, Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)

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Last Update : 09 April 2020