For decades, surgeons have been warning of the potentially deadly risk posed to young children by button batteries. If accidentally swallowed, the small, round batteries can get lodged in the oesophagus and burn a hole through its lining.
Manufacturers promised to improve the design of batteries and include warning messages to prevent accidental ingestion. But, surgeons across the globe have still seen a big increase in cases in the past year. London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital recently reported that there has been a dramatic rise recently, and now they are seeing about one child a month.
Engineers in the US produced button batteries with a special coating which conducts electricity only when squeezed, such as when it is in a spring-loaded compartment. However, the technology has yet to be incorporated by manufacturers.
For more information, read RoSPA's Button Battery Blog.