Childrens Health

Mum’s Warning About Just How Quickly a Swallowed Button Battery Can Cause Damage

At 7pm four-year-old Jax swallowed a button battery. He had located the battery in a tea light candle and promptly stuck it into his mouth. The little round batteries look very similar to lollies but they are extremely dangerous if ingested. 

Just two hours later, Jax underwent emergency surgery to have it removed. However, it had already started to do serious damage. 

All it took was two hours. 

swallowed button battery Jax
The tea light candle and the corroded button battery. Source: Facebook

Two hours for the swallowed button battery to start to burn a hole through the little boy’s esophagus. 

Jax’s mum, Sadie, shares her son’s horrific story with Mum Central and offers a very important message to all parents. 

‘No idea what had happened’

Jax, who lives in the United States, is severely speech-impaired. However, his actions informed his parents what had happened.  

Jax swallowed button battery
Source: Facebook

As Sadie tells Mum Central, 

I was cleaning up the bathroom after bath time. Jax was in his room playing right across the hall to the bathroom. All of a sudden he ran into the bathroom hysterical.

I had no idea what had happened.”

Jax hid under the bed from his mum, a clear indication that he had done something he shouldn’t have. So Sadie went to her room and discovered a tea light candle on the floor, completely disassembled and the battery missing. 

I start to frantically look around for it and I couldn’t find it. It was one of the bigger button batteries.” 

Sadie and her husband immediately drove Jax to the hospital and on the way, he started to complain that his tummy hurt.

They got him to the hospital within 30 minutes of him ingesting the battery and Jax had an X-ray confirming that the battery was in his esophagus. 

From there, the team worked incredibly quickly. Jax was airlifted to another hospital and placed into surgery straight away. 

Within two hours of ingesting the button battery, doctors had it removed and Jax was in recovery.

However, the battery had already done damage. Thankfully, there wasn’t a hole yet – just chemical burns from the corrosion of the battery. 

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Jax’s X-rays showed the battery had already started to corrode. Source: Facebook

A quick reaction saved him

Jax was placed on a feeding tube for three days. 

The doctor told us what saved him from being very bad was how fast we reacted.  It could of been so much worse,” Sadie tells Mum Central. 

“It would of put a hole in his esophagus he would have been on a ventilator and a feeding tube for the rest of his life.”

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Thankfully Jax is now on the mend. Source: Facebook

After something this scary, it’s only natural to want to ensure your child never swallows a battery again.

When Sadie arrived home she went through all Jax’s toys and disposed of three full bags of toys because they contained these batteries. They really are in a lot of household items – watches, remotes, toys, lights and more.

I’m posting this as a PSA to anyone with children. Please look through everything you own to make sure you don’t have these batteries.

I am asking for everyone to share this. I wanted to let people know the dangers of these batteries and what can happen if swallowed.” 

Jax is very lucky. We’ve shared horror stories of children who have swallowed button batteries and who have not been so lucky. However, we never realised just how quickly a swallowed button battery can start to do damage.

Two hours is really all it takes. If your child has swallowed a button battery, it’s crucial to act incredibly quickly.

We shared a story last month about a mum who discovered that giving your child honey if they do swallow a button battery can lessen the immediate damage but this is not “recommended” by health professionals just yet. 

Here is what the health professionals suggest to do: 

What if your child ingests a button battery

  • If they are having trouble breathing, call 000 immediately.
  • If they are not having trouble breathing parents should call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26. You will be directed by staff to an emergency department that is best able to treat your child.

Button Battery awareness 

Please see our previous articles on the importance of being aware of button battery dangers, including how to protect your kids and what to do if your child does swallow one. 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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