For Immediate Release: November 26, 2014
As Black Friday Approaches, Caution Urged When Purchasing Small Electronics
Precautions should be taken to protect children from swallowing coin-sized batteries.
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin is reminding parents and caregivers to take special precautions to protect children from the dangers of battery-operated gadgets as we enter the traditional start of the gift-giving season.
According to the National Capital Poison Center, more than 3,500 cases of swallowed button batteries are reported to U.S. poison control centers each year…and the threat is growing fast. The number of cases where children have been seriously hurt or have died after swallowing a battery has quadrupled in five years (2006-2010) compared to the five years prior (2001-2005). All fatalities and 85 percent of major injuries were among children 4-years-old and younger.
If swallowed and not removed promptly, larger button batteries can cause death or burn a hole through a child's esophagus. Serious complications can also occur when small batteries are placed in the nose or ear - another situation where urgent removal is critical.
To protect children from the hazards associated with button batteries, follow these tips:
- Never leave batteries out. Store spare batteries and batteries to be recycled out of sight and reach of young children. Wrap used batteries securely and discard them where a child can't find them.
- Check all household devices - including remote controls, singing greeting cards, talking books and other devices - to be certain the battery compartment is secured shut. Use strong tape to secure compartments that kids can open or that might pop open if the device is dropped. Only purchase products that require a screwdriver or tool to open the battery compartment, or that are closed with a child-resistant locking mechanism.
- Don't allow children to play with batteries or with battery-powered products that have easily accessible batteries.
- Make sure all hearing aids for children have child-resistant battery compartments and make sure the lock is activated when the child is wearing the aid.
- Alert family members who wear hearing aids about the importance of keeping the batteries out of reach of small children at all times.
For more safety information and a full list of potential products containing button batteries, go to the National Capitol Poison Center at http://www.poison.org/battery/tips.asp or to thebatterycontrolled.com/.