A 2-year-old little girl tragically passed away after swallowing a battery smaller than a penny. Now, her family wants to bring awareness to this issue that’s more common than you think.
Kent Vice is Brianna Florer’s grandfather; he claims that his granddaughter hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, but the family didn’t think much of it at first. Brianna had a low-grade fever, but nothing was too concerning — until all of that changed in an instant.
A couple more days past and the once vibrant toddler was suddenly throwing up blood and turning blue. Brianna’s parents, Brian and Stephanie Florer, rushed their little girl to the hospital — sadly, it was too late to save her. Brianna died from the ingestion of a button battery that had leaked its toxic chemicals into her system. Doctors think she had ingested the battery six days before being rushed to the hospital.
The Florer family wants to warn other parents about the dangers of these small, common batteries that are often found in watches, toys, hearing aids, and remote controls.
“I want to keep these things out of houses,” Vice told a local news station. “They are dangerous.”
According to the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, D.C., “from 2005 to 2014, there were 11,940 battery-swallowing incidents involving children under the age of 6 nationally. Of those cases, 15 children died, and another 101 suffered major medical problems.”
“These devastating outcomes occur in small children when batteries get stuck in the esophagus,” said Dr. Toby Litovitz, center physician at the NCPC.
Most of these small button batteries will pass through without issue. However, they can become “stuck” and release chemicals that can cause serious injury.
A button battery that becomes lodged in the esophagus can cause tissue damage. According to Poison Control, “an electrical current can form around the outside of the battery, generating hydroxide (an alkaline chemical) and causing a tissue burn. When a battery is swallowed, it is impossible to know whether it will pass through or get ‘hung up’.”
“The electrical current is causing more damage because it is splitting the water surrounding the button battery and forming hydroxide, which is an ingredient in lye. Imagine dropping little tiny drops of lye in one place in the esophagus,” Litovitz said.
Serious issues and complications can also arise if the tiny batteries are placed in the nose or ear.
If you suspect that your child has ingested a battery, here is what you should do:
- Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline immediately at 800-498-8666 (or 202-625-3333)
- If at all possible, locate the battery identification number on the packaging or a matching battery.
- An x-ray will most likely need to be performed, so do not induce vomiting, eat, or drink until the x-ray has determined the battery has passed the esophagus.
- If advised by the hotline to stay and watch the progress, keep an eye out for fever, stomach pain, vomiting or blood in the stools until you’re certain the battery has passed.
- Seek medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms occur.
If a button battery becomes stuck in an ear or nostril, seek medical attention as it will need to be removed immediately. Do not use nose or ear drops to try and dislodge the battery as it could cause additional injury.
Vice says that he hopes his granddaughter’s tragic death will help bring more awareness to the dangers of these common household batteries.
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