Dangers of batteries to children

Girl dies after swallowing battery over Christmas

Batteries can be lethal in the hands of young children

Batteries can be lethal in the hands of young children

This is a really tragic story that unfolded over Christmas 2015. It highlights the dangers of small batteries in the hand of babies and toddlers. You can find out more about this and what to do when you attend one of our First Aid courses in Dublin.

A two-year-old girl has died after swallowing a button battery in the US.

Brianna Florer’s grandfather described how she had a “perfect Christmas” with her family before suddenly starting to vomit blood and turn blue on 27 December.

Brianna Florer died days after swallowing a lithium battery

Brianna Florer died days after swallowing a lithium battery

Her parents called paramedics and she was taken to hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but Brianna died after two hours of emergency surgery attempting to stop the internal bleeding.

The results of Brianna’s autopsy have not yet been made public but Mr Vice said doctors told the family they believe the battery ate through an artery through the child’s oesophagus. 

Button batteries are the small, round, silver-coloured lithium batteries used in many electrical toys.

Advice by the NHS

The NHS advises anyone who believes their child may have swallowed one to take them to A&E immediately, saying that as well as being a choking hazard, the electrical current the batteries give out can cause burns if they become stuck.

An alert issued by NHS England said caustic soda created by the current can cause “severe tissue damage”, leading to burns, skin damage and “catastrophic haemorrhage”.

In the four years leading up to 2014, five cases of severe injury caused by button batteries had been identified in England, including one resulting in a child’s death.

“The risk affects all age groups, although most cases involve children under the age of six who mistake the battery for a sweet and older people with confusion or poor vision who mistake the battery for a pill,” an NHS spokesperson said.

Dr Mike Durkin, the NHS England Director of Patient Safety, released a warning to GPs and hospitals to ensure they were aware of the symptoms.

He said: “As these types of batteries are common in toys and gadgets that may be given as presents, the risk of children swallowing them increases during the Christmas period.”

We cover the risk of swallowing foreign objects as part of our First Aid courses in Dublin. Please contact to find out when we run our next First Aid courses in Dublin.