Christmas is around the corner and many parents may be shopping for battery operated gifts for their children. Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding Albertans about the dangers of button batteries, often found in toys and electronics, and the risk they pose to children if swallowed. 

Button batteries are used to power many items such as games, watches, hearing aids, cameras, calculators, flashing shoes, musical cards, and more. Because of their round shape and small size, children can mistake button batteries for food or candy.  

From January to October of this year, emergency departments across Alberta saw 155 injuries in children related to button and similar small batteries.  

A swallowed button battery can cause chemical burns and destroy the tissue in the upper digestive tract and may even cause death. The damage can be rapid and is likely to be worse if the battery gets stuck in the esophagus instead of moving into the stomach.  

After swallowing a button battery your child might have one or more of these symptoms: 

  • wheezing, drooling 
  • coughing and gagging when eating 
  • trouble swallowing 
  • chest pain 
  • belly pain 
  • nausea, vomiting 
  • no appetite 
  • fever 

    There might not be any symptoms after swallowing a button battery, but injury can still occur. If you think someone has swallowed a button battery: 

  • DO NOT try to make them vomit. 
  • Take them to the nearest emergency department immediately. 

To keep children safe this holiday season and beyond: 

  • Where possible, choose products that do not use button batteries. 
  • Keep all batteries locked up, out of reach and out of sight of children. 
  • Supervise children when they use products containing button batteries.  
  • Ensure children do not play with batteries or are able to remove them - only buy and use products where the battery is secured so your child cannot open it (for example, battery covers that are secured by screws). 
  • Look for loose batteries on floors, tables, and counters and store or dispose of batteries after covering the ends with tape, even if the batteries are dead. Dead batteries can still cause harm if swallowed.