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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Aug 31;61(34):661-6.

Injuries from batteries among children aged <13 years--United States, 1995-2010.


Injuries to children caused by batteries have been documented in the medical literature and by poison control centers for decades. Of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries, especially those ≥20 mm in diameter (coin size), which can lodge in the esophagus, leading to serious complications or death. To estimate the number of nonfatal battery injuries among children aged <13 years, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff analyzed 1997-2010 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). To identify fatal battery exposures, other CPSC databases covering 1995-2010 were examined, including the 1) Injury and Potential Injury Incident File; 2) Death Certificate Database (DTHS); and 3) In-Depth Investigation File (INDP). From 1997 to 2010, an estimated 40,400 children aged <13 years were treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) for battery-related injuries, including confirmed or possible battery ingestions. Nearly three quarters of the injuries involved children aged ≤4 years; 10% required hospitalization. Battery type was reported for 69% of cases, and of those, button batteries were implicated in 58%. Fourteen fatal injuries were identified in children ranging in age from 7 months to 3 years during 1995-2010. Battery type was reported in 12 of these cases; all involved button batteries. CPSC is urging the electronics industry and battery manufacturers to develop warnings and industry standards to prevent serious injuries and deaths from button batteries. Additionally, public health and health-care providers can encourage parents to keep button batteries and products containing accessible button batteries (e.g., remote controls) away from young children.

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