Swallowing a disc battery may seem harmless but it can be fatal. It is essential to identify a child who has swallowed a disc battery as soon as possible.


When to suspect that a child may have swallowed a disc battery:

(1) small child < 4 years old

(2) history of swallowing things or placing things in the mouth

(3) observed event

(4) disc batteries accessible to the child

(5) disc battery (or small item with disc battery) missing


It is not uncommon that event was unobserved, that the child cannot communicate the event or that the child is unwilling to mention it.


While most events are associated with small children, older children and adults can swallow disc batteries.


Signs and symptoms that may indicate that a disc battery was swallowed:

(1) airway obstruction or choking

(2) wheezing

(3) coughing

(4) vomiting

(5) drooling

(6) chest discomfort

(7) refusal to eat, difficulty swallowing or gagging eating


The absence of signs and symptoms is not a reason to avoid seeking medical help if significant risk factors have been identified.


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