Button batteries 5 - 9 Years












How big a problem is it?

Each year, approximately 20 children are taken to the Starship Emergency Department because they’ve been suspected of swallowing a button battery or they are suffering from a button battery-related injury. As well as being a choking hazard, button batteries can burn a hole in tissue of a child's throat in as little as two hours causing serious illness, lifelong disability or death. From 2010 till 2013, the National Poisons Centre received 175 calls regarding children under 6 years swallowing or inserting batteries in their nose and ears.

Who does it affect?

While it is younger children that are among the most at risk, 5 – 9 year-olds are also vulnerable to injury. There have been instances of children putting batteries up their noses or in their ears and these also serious risks to health.

Top Tips

  • Check your home wherever a child is likely to go for common items that may have button batteries and place them out of reach and sight. As an extra precaution put some duct tape over the TV remote, and keep loose batteries locked away. 

  • Check for things that already have batteries installed but which may not be obvious. Examples are singing/flashing greeting cards, watches, thermometers, decorations and flashing jewellery. These are often overlooked. 

  • Share these tips with caregivers, your whānau and friends, they could save a child’s life.

First Aid

  • It’s best not to make your child vomit or have your child eat or drink anything other than honey until a doctor has seen them. 

  • If you have the identification number of the battery (found on the battery’s pack), take it with you to hospital. This could be really helpful to the medical team.

  • Before arriving at the hospital, children over 1 year who have swallowed a button battery within the past 12 hours may be given 10ml of honey every 10 minutes (up to 6 doses).

    • (10mL is approximately 2 teaspoons). Proceed to the Emergency Department immediately. Do not delay.

  • If you think your child has swallowed a battery, go to the nearest hospital emergency department and get medical treatment straight away.

  • Honey can significantly reduce burn injuries from swallowing button batteries. If you have some available, give your child 2 teaspoons before heading to the hospital, as long as they are at least a year old and there is no obvious chest pain or fever.

Links to other Battery Controlled videos:

Links to Safekids’ resources

Download Button Battery reference card

 Reference Card Sources

Button Battery Injury Prevention Resources

Links to other organisations’ resources

The Battery Controlled NZ