According to a recent CDC report, the number of children injured from swallowing coin lithium, or “button” batteries continues to rise.
Recently, Energizer, a leading manufacturer of the batteries, announced a new child-resistant packaging designed to reduce the occurrence of battery ingestion.
The new packaging meets guidelines set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for child-resistant packaging.
Energizer says the packaging is made from durable and flexible materials, making it extremely difficult for a young child to open.
The company acknowledges that accidental button battery ingestions has been on the rise. Stacey Harbour, U.S. director of marketing for Energizer, points to National Capital Poison Center data findings showing that the number of cases in which children have been seriously hurt or died has more than quadrupled in the past five years compared to the previous five years. “We also know, says Harbour, “that a little over eight percent of all ingestions comes from packaging, and while the majority of incidents are due to loose batteries or children getting them out of devices, we don’t want to see one child injured by a button battery ingestion.”
Batteries will be produced with a sticker on the back of the battery itself. Energizer hopes the warnings will serve as an additional reminder to keep batteries away from young children. The packaging is set to appear in the near future at retail stores nationwide.
Karla Rauch, of Emmett’s Fight Foundation says that she is pleased at the efforts of the company, and hopes that the act of physically peeling the warning sticker off will increase the chances that consumers will take precautions.
Rauch, whose son Emmett has undergone multiple surgeries after swallowing a button battery from a remote control device as a toddler, says she appreciates the warning label urging immediate medical attention if a battery is swallowed.
After swallowing occurs, button batteries can begin burning the throat, esophagus, or other tissues in the body within just a few hours. Often, the batteries are so small the a child may not choke or indicate other immediate signals of distress.
How would you know if your child swallowed a button battery? Read more about Emmett and the Rauch family’s story.
Rauch thinks the packaging changes are a move in the right direction, but she says she’d also like to see a screw that secures the door to any button battery compartment.
She’s also hoping to to build a non-profit organization to raise awareness of the dangers of button battery ingestion and to support families affected.
Energizer has begun working with Safe Kids Worldwide, recently launching The Battery Controlled, a campaign to raise awareness and share prevention and treatment tips for parents and caregivers.