Keep button batteries away from children, group tells parents

Published July 2, 2021, 12:57 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

An anti-toxics watchdog told parents on Friday, July 2 to keep button or coin batteries out of children’s reach in order to avoid incidents of choking or poisoning.

LEAK SPOTTED–A pack of assorted button batteries. The battery in the middle has already begun to leak in-package. (Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Button batteries that are used for toys and other electronic products may pose a health hazard to young children as they can accidentally put this tiny object in the mouth, place it in the nose or push it in the ear,” EcoWaste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon said in a statement.

The group issued the reminder after a three-year old boy accidentally pushed a button battery into his nostrils. A news report on the incident last June 30 revealed that the child was able to expel the battery from his body naturally.

Button batteries are small, round batteries commonly found in the household and office. They are used to power electronic products such as games and toys, pocket calculators, remote controls, wrist watches, hair accessories, holiday decorations, hearing aids, thermometers and other devices.

Like penlight batteries, button batteries may also leak chemicals that are harmful to the body.

To protect children from falling ill or from being injured due to button batteries, the EcoWaste Coalition advised parents to heed the following poisoning prevention tips:

1. Carefully read the product label and follow the safety instructions on battery use, storage and disposal.

2. Ensure that button batteries in children’s products and household items are duly secured with a screw.

3. Keep button batteries in their original packaging and store them in a childproof container.

4. Ensure that button batteries, old or new, are kept out of children’s sight and reach.

5. Do not allow children to handle and install button batteries and never let them play with them.

The group further advised parents to properly dispose of spent batteries and not to simply throw them in the trash bin or toss them into a fire.

Data from the National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC) list button batteries as number six among the top 10 agents for pediatric poisoning cases in 2020.

To report any case of poisoning and to obtain advice, the public may call the NPMCC’s hotline number at 0966-7289904.