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Button cells: watch out for the risk of ingestion by young children

Button cells: watch out for the risk of ingestion by young children

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Every year in France, more than 1,200 emergency room visits are linked to the ingestion of button cells. Again this year, cases of poisoning of young children have been reported by the poison control centers, which is a serious danger. Here are tips to prevent accidents and good habits to adopt if swallowed.

Ingesting a button cell: a serious danger for children

  • Today, many toys, but also everyday objects (remote controls, car keys ...) are likely to contain small batteries (button cells) that can be swallowed by young children. Every year in France, more than 1,200 emergency room visits (mostly children between 0 and 5 years old) are related to accidents by ingestion (in 9 cases out of 10), but also inhalation, projection of liquid or introduction into an orifice natural other than the mouth.
  • Even in the absence of airway obstruction, it should be noted that ingestion of these batteries is a real and serious danger to children. Indeed, a swallowed battery can lead in a few hours to the formation of potentially fatal lesions due to the release of toxic substances into the esophagus.
  • Faced with these risks, the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES), the General Directorate of Health, the Directorate General of Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) and poison control centers remind you of the tips to follow.

Check the safety of toys ... but especially everyday objects

  • For the youngest children, toys are subject to strict requirements (including non-accessibility of batteries) imposed by European legislation. In addition, the DGCCRF, the consumer protection authority, ensures the safety of toys placed on the market by means of checks and laboratory analyzes, especially as Christmas approaches.
  • On the other hand, other everyday objects containing this type of battery (remote controls, car keys, etc.) are not subject to these strict regulatory obligations - because they are not intended for children - and they regularly cause accidents.

Hence the importance of remaining vigilant and respecting the following instructions:

  • never leave button cells within reach of a child
  • favor the purchase of devices with a battery compartment secure (presence of a screw or need to perform two independent maneuvers to open it)
  • check that the battery compartment is secure and can not be opened (if this is not the case, do not leave the object within reach of small hands)
  • if swallowed, even if it is supposed to be a coin cell, contact the 15 or a poison control center.


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