Annually, there are over 3,000 children who receive medical treatment in U.S. hospitals after swallowing button batteries. A button battery is a small kind of battery often used in small electronics like toys, greeting cards, flashlights, etc. unfortunately, button batteries can be extremely toxic for young children, and may lead to serious injury and even death.
In many cases, the most dangerous form of ingestion occurs when the button battery is stuck in the esophagus or the stomach of the child. This is because the batteries could create an electric current when they come into contact with saliva, water, or other body fluid. The electric current produces a chemical known as “hydroxide”, which can damage tissue in as little as two hours. Furthermore, when the battery is stuck in the esophagus or the stomach, the leaking may go on indefinitely and continue burning the tissues.
If you or your child has been injured from button battery ingestion, you might be eligible for compensation from the battery manufacturer or the device that came with the battery. A button battery lawyer at Rueb Stoller Daniel can help you file the appropriate lawsuit and pursue the justice and compensation your family deserves.
What is a Button Battery Lawsuit?
A button battery ingestion lawsuit is a case filed when a child or any other vulnerable individual swallows a button battery and becomes sick or suffers an injury. As we’ve seen above, battery ingestion cases can result in serious internal injuries requiring extensive medical care and treatment. The battery could be lodged in the esophagus (food pipe) and burn the surrounding tissue. It might also be stuck in the stomach and destroy the stomach lining.
Button batteries are commonly found in many children’s toys. They are small batteries, also referred to as coin cell batteries, which are used in calculators, key fobs, jewelry, remote controls, Christmas cards, digital scales, keyless entry devices, and other household items that are easily accessible to children. When the battery compartments for these are not designed correctly, the button battery might end up in the hands of children.
What are the Symptoms of Button Battery Ingestion?
It might be hard for some parents to know if their child has swallowed a battery. However, within two hours of ingestion, an electrical current can form around the battery due to the build-up of hydroxide. This may end up burning through tissue and causing chemical burns, hemorrhaging, tears or ruptures in the esophagus, and even death.
Some of the symptoms of button battery ingestion may include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing. However, in many cases, the ingested battery goes through the intestines and exits the body safely. This is not always the case, and a stuck battery will lead to problems, which might continue even after the battery has been removed from the body.
What Should I Do If My Child Swallows a Battery?
Regardless of where in the body the button battery is, you should know that it may lead to significant tissue damage that could even cause death. According to recent research, giving honey at regular intervals can help reduce the injuries caused by button battery ingestion, at least until the child can be seen by a doctor. However, the researchers warn that honey is not a substitute for professional medical attention.
If a child or a person close to you is going through button battery ingestion, following these steps might just save their life:
- Call the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline immediately at 1-(800)-498-8666 or call the poison center at 1-(800)-222-1222.
- If you have it, provide them with the battery identification number. This can easily be found on the package holding a matching battery.
- Have an x-ray done right away (on the advice of the doctor) to find out if the battery has passed the esophagus into the stomach. In case the battery is stuck in the esophagus, it has to be removed. However, most batteries will move into the stomach and can be allowed to pass by themselves.
- Never induce vomiting.
- Don’t let your child drink or eat anything until after the x-ray. In case the battery has passed the esophagus and reached the stomach, then your child can drink or eat.
- Be on the lookout for physical symptoms, including abdominal pain, fever, blood in stools, vomiting, etc.
- Be sure to check your child’s stools until the battery has passed.
Keep in mind that while honey may be helpful for children over 12 months old, researchers have warned against using it if the child is under 12 months and when the esophagus is perforated. Honey might increase the risk of infant botulism when given to children under one year.
Possible Injuries Caused by Button Battery Ingestion
Button batteries are small and shiny objects that are increasingly becoming present in children’s toys and small electronics. If a device comes with a defect or design flaw, a child might gain access to a button battery and swallow it. There are more than 3,000 cases of button batteries being ingested by children in the United States every year, and most of these often result in an emergency room visit.
When a child swallows a battery, the symptoms might virtually be absent, or they will resemble those of common infections. This makes it quite challenging for healthcare professionals to evaluate the child.
If the button battery is placed in the ear canal or nasal cavity, pain or drainage might be noted, but this is not unique to button batteries. The non-specific symptoms along with an unwitnessed placement might lead to a delay in diagnosis and even cause greater injury.
Button batteries that get stuck in the nasal cavity could lead to nasal mucosal injury, scar tissue formation, periorbital cellulitis, and nasal septal perforation. If stuck in the ear canal, injuries may include tympanic membrane perforation, hearing loss, and facial nerve paralysis.
If the battery is stuck in the gut, the electric current it produces will rapidly increase the pH of the surrounding tissue, which causes significant tissue injury within a matter of two hours. Esophageal button battery injuries include mediastinitis, esophageal perforation, tracheoesophageal fistula, vocal cord paralysis, esophageal stricture, and even death as a result of significant hemorrhage of an aortoesophageal fistula.
What Preventative Measures Can Be Taken to Avoid Battery Ingestion?
There are certain precautions that you could take to limit the risk of button battery ingestion by your child. The following recommendations are provided by Nationwide Children’s Hospital:
- Look for every battery-powered device in and around your house and areas where your children frequent. Regularly make sure that the battery is well secured and only accessible using a tool like a screwdriver. If this isn’t an option, secure battery compartments on gadgets and toys with duct tape, or keep them out of sight of children when you’re not around.
- Watch your children carefully while they’re using toys or devices that contain these kinds of batteries.
- Keep any loose batteries away where they are out of sight and reach of children. Consider storing them in a locked container or a locked cabinet.
- Dispose of the used batteries immediately and safely in ways that are out of reach of children.
- Share this information with friends, family, caregivers, and sitters. This will only take a minute but it could save a life.
What Items Have Button Batteries in Them?
Our team has come across cases where small children gained access to button batteries in the following devices:
- Games and toys
- Remote controls
- Key fobs
- Singing greeting cards
- Holiday ornaments
- Hearing aids
- Bathroom scales
- Holiday ornaments
- Electronic jewelry
This is not an exhaustive list of gadgets and devices where button batteries can be found. Technology keeps changing and devices get smarter (and smaller), meaning that button batteries may continue becoming more common in our homes.
How Can a Button Battery Lawyer Help Me?
If your child suffered injuries from button battery ingestion that wasn’t secured properly within a product, you may have a case against the manufacturer. Our button battery lawyers have extensive experience and knowledge about the litigation of button battery ingestion lawsuits, and we can examine your case thoroughly to establish if you are eligible for compensation for your damages.
These are some of the lawsuits we can help you file:
Product Defect Lawsuit
Children shouldn’t be able to remove batteries from devices; battery compartments should have safeguards to prevent this from happening. In case a product has a defective design, a lawsuit against the manufacturer may be warranted.
Failure to Warn Lawsuit
Toys come with warnings about the appropriateness of different-aged children for a reason. If a toy was packaged without the proper warnings and labels about possible battery ingestion and the harm that could result, a court of law may find the company liable for your damages.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If your child was taken to the emergency room after ingesting a battery and the doctor misses the diagnosis, it could result in a serious injury. An x-ray should provide conclusive evidence of an ingested battery. If the ER staff or doctor fell below the acceptable standard of care, a medical malpractice suit might be viable.
Our team of attorneys has the experience necessary to litigate a button battery ingestion lawsuit in federal courts against even the best of law firms and corporations in the country. While we understand that no amount of money will ever be enough to compensate your family for the loss of a loved one, we have successfully helped former clients obtain significant sums in compensation to address the damages they and their small children incurred.
Don’t let big companies walk away with causing you huge medical expenses, not to mention the pain and suffering and the mental hardships inflicted on your small child, and your family. You shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of a shoddy and unsafe product.
Get in Touch with a Button Battery Lawyer Today
At Rueb Stoller Daniel, we offer aggressive representation for parents of children who suffer serious injury from button battery ingestion. Aside from gathering evidence, medical documentation, and witness statements that are essential for winning the case, we will also compassionately help you address your situation and advocate for the maximum amount of compensation to cover for the present and future treatment of your injured child.
Get in touch with us today at 1-866-CALL-RSD to schedule a free case review with one of our lawyers.