Mum Central has shared several stories in the past about the dangers of button batteries in our homes. These “lolly-like” batteries are found in all sorts of things, from remotes to toys, and, to curious children, are the perfect size to pop in their mouths.
However, if swallowed, a button battery can burn through the body at a terrifying rate, leading to serious injury and death. The scary thing about button battery ingestion is that often parents aren’t aware their children have even swallowed a battery until it’s too late.
Luckily, for mum, Katie Jacobsen, her little girl, Maggie, spoke up about what she had just swallowed. And, thankfully, Katie knew a trick that could have very well saved her little girl’s life.
‘I just swallowed that’
Katie shared her story on Facebook recently as a way to not only warn parents of the dangers of button batteries but to remind them that, if ever in this awful situation, reach for the honey.
As Katie explains, she was celebrating her birthday with her family. They had ordered takeaway for dinner which came with biscuits with butter and little honey packs.
Right after dinner we sat in the living room. Maggie comes over to me and points at her mouth and says. “I just swallowed that.” “Just swallowed what?” I asked.“That shiny thing.” , she says.So I look around for what she could be talking about and I see a Barbie doll on the table. Levi is sitting there too. His eyes get big and he says. “I just took one of those out.”
Levi, Maggie’s little brother, is talking about a little button battery that was in a doll’s leg. The cover had come off it – super dangerous, yes, but toys like this are still really popular. Recently the laws have changed to protect children from easily accessing button batteries but you may be surprised at how many toys do contain button batteries.
I know immediately that this is bad. We start getting ready to go to the hospital. While I’m doing that, [big sister] Eva is on her phone looking things up. “Mom it says to give her honey.”We still have little packets of honey just sitting on the table. How amazing is that? It was surely God’s kindness to us! So we give her a couple of packets. And grab the rest for the ride to the hospital. I give her more in the car.”
Maggie was given an X-ray at the hospital and, amazingly, the x-ray showed that the button battery had slid straight down to the stomach, avoiding the esophagus.
While still dangerous, this is not nearly as dangerous as when a button battery gets stuck in the esophagus. If this happens, the battery’s acid can start burning a hole through the body and major organs.
They kept her overnight with plans to possibly retrieve the battery in the morning. But first thing they did another x-ray and the battery was sliding down again into her intestines. So at that point there was very little risk. Maggie was discharged right after breakfast.”I was not planning to share this on Facebook. But multiple times the doctors told us how good it was that we gave her that honey right away because it coats the battery and keeps it from getting stuck.”
The huge impact of honey
Tiny Hearts Education recently shared a video on TikTok showcasing just how much of difference honey can make. They write,
From this experiment you can see how the simple act of giving honey can have a huge protective effect on the damage done if this were ever to happen to your child. The first aid you do before you reach the hospital, can make all the difference. Although it’s not the first aid guideline here in Australia (yet) it is in many other countries and I see why!If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery call 000 if any signs of breathing difficulty or red flags are present, if these are not present call poisons information on 13 11 26 who will advise on honey use, how much and how often.”
@tinyheartseducation They’re small, dangerous (when swallowed) and they’re hiding in kids toys and books. Button Batteries🚨 It’s so important to know the first aid management for the different accidents our little ones can get into including what to do if they ever swallow a button battery. From this experiment you can see how the simple act of giving honey can have a huge protective effect on the damage done if this were ever to happen to your child. The first aid you do before you reach the hospital, can make all the difference. If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery call 000 if there are any red flags, if no red flags call the poisons information hotline (13 11 26). Share this info around so other parents know exactly what they need to do if this ever happens to their little one. #buttonbattery #buttonbatteries #childsafety #toysafety #kidstoys #firstaid #honey ♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz
Symptoms of button battery ingestion
- Symptoms may include gagging or choking, drooling, chest pain (grunting), coughing or noisy breathing, food refusal, black or red bowel motions, nose bleeds, spitting blood or blood-stained saliva, any unexplained vomiting, fever, abdominal pain or general discomfort.
- Children are often unable to effectively communicate that they have swallowed or inserted a button battery and may have no symptoms initially.
- If you suspect a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, you should ask for an X-Ray from a hospital emergency department to make sure.
What to read next
- 9 Years After Australia’s First Child Died from Button Battery Ingestion, the Laws are Finally set to Change
- Button Battery Safety: Grieving Mums Fight to Change the Law
- Senator Calls For Review of Deadly Button Batteries
- Button Batteries – What you NEED to Know to Reduce the Risk and Safeguard Your Kids
- Two-year-old Brianna Swallowed a Lithium Battery and Died. Here’s Why They Can Be Fatal