Button batteries risk to babies and toddlers
Published Thursday, August 19, 2010 6:16PM PDT
Button-cell batteries power an increasing number of products -- from remotes to greeting cards. Chris Olsen shows why their small size masks a big risk to young children.
Lonnie and Michelle Truett's youngest son, Aidan, died after he swallowed a tiny battery.
They say there is no describing the everyday pain.
"It just really changes you. There's no greater loss than the loss of a child," said Aidan's dad, Lonnie Truett.
Consumer Reports' Don Mays says tiny lithium "button-cell" batteries are found in all kinds of products like children's toys, clocks, remotes, watches and even musical greeting cards.
In some products, like a talking children's book, a child cannot get access to the battery.
"Musical books are regulated as toys. So you need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment," said Mays.
But musical greeting cards are different. With many, a child can tear open the card and get to the battery.
Health Canada told CTV News batteries for cards aimed at kids need to be hard to get out.
So we ripped apart a Pokemon card, available from a major card retailer, and while the batteries were hard to remove as required by law, it was still possible by bending some soft metal.
Adult cards are not regulated. CTV News ripped into one again, purchased at a major card retailer, and found the battery was hard to remove. But that may not always be the case.
And with small remotes like the one for an iPod docking station, the battery is also easily accessible.
"These batteries are smaller and easier for a child to swallow. And the injuries can be severe. They can actually burn a hole through a child's esophagus," Mays said.
To demonstrate the danger, Consumer Reports placed a button-cell battery between two slices of ham.
"After three days, the battery burned the top piece of ham. But it actually burned a hole in the bottom piece of ham," Mays said.
The Truetts don't know where Aidan found the battery he swallowed, but they've removed all button-cell batteries from their home.
"There's no sense in keeping them around because your child's life is not worth it," Aidan's mom said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen