Lithium batteries ingested by children: accidents are increasing

Accidents where children swallow lithium batteries have quadrupled in 20 years. Doctors warn of the risks to children.

They are increasingly present in our daily lives. Remote controls, toys, or even in watches, lithium batteries are everywhere. And when a child swallows one, the consequences can be very serious. It is also an increasingly important domestic accident: France has three hospitalizations per day of children under six years old who have ingested a lithium battery.

The battery brand Duracell launched an awareness campaign on Saturday until December 31. Objective: to challenge parents and early childhood professionals on the risks incurred by their children in the event of ingestion.

Camille Marcotte-Paty is one of the parents who have already experienced this kind of accident. This mother is at work when she learns that her 4-year-old son Zadig has just ingested a battery at home.

“He could no longer eat or drink”

Fortunately, both of Zadig’s parents knew the danger he was in. “My husband called the firefighters and they immediately understood the seriousness of the facts. Five or six minutes later the firefighters were at home,” she says at the microphone of BFMTV.

Head to the hospital for Zadig because once ingested, the components of the battery activate and cause damage to the child’s esophagus, which will take several weeks to recover. “For a month Zadig could no longer eat or drink so he was fed by gastric tube at home,” recalls the mother.

These accidents due to lithium batteries have quadrupled in twenty years.

“Act Quickly”

Professor Florence Campeotto, pediatric gastroenterologist at Necker Hospital in Paris, explains to BFMTV: “If we see that the battery is at the level of the esophagus, we have two hours to remove it. Beyond two hours , the lesions can be more important and this leads to necrosis, it is the destruction of the walls of the esophagus, it is very dangerous”.

The High Authority for Health published last February a press release to help parents if a lithium battery is swallowed. She recommends “to act quickly”.

“It is recommended to leave the child on an empty stomach without trying to make him vomit and to call 15 or a poison control center, in order to trigger the assessment and the appropriate care of the child without delay”, indicates- she.

François Pitrel, Sébastien Riou, and Marjorie Marcillac with PB

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