With Christmas fast approaching and many parents starting to think about buying presents, it’s important to know which toys are safe and which aren’t – especially when it comes to batteries. Dr Elizabeth Guingi from Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department shares her advice on battery safety.
While any small object that can be placed in a child’s mouth is a choking hazard, batteries (especially the small, flat, round ones) have extra associated risks,” warns Dr Guingi.
“If a battery gets stuck, it could cause a serious burn, or potentially a life-threatening injury.”
There may be no symptoms at first if a child has swallowed a battery but it could result in serious injury within two hours.
Signs a child has swallowed a battery include drooling, a sore throat, chest pain or trouble eating or swallowing.
“If you suspect you child has swallowed a button battery, take them straight to your local hospital emergency department for an x-ray,” says Dr Guinigi.
In the most serious cases, surgery may be required to remove the battery.
The best way to avoid a battery mishap, is to make sure you buy toys that comply with Australian Standards. Toys made for children aged from newborn to three years should have battery compartments that screw shut so children can’t open them.
Toys for older children and appliances with button batteries, like remote controls and thermometers should be kept away from small children.