The Battery Controlled: Understanding One of the Biggest Dangers in Your Home

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

“Carla says her one-year-old was playing with the remote. Three days later, doctors found its battery in his throat. Ten surgeries, 100 x-rays, and nine weeks in the ICU later. Two inches of his esophagus (were) removed.”

That shocking story is part of the “Emmitt’s Story” video (view it at the bottom this entry) created by the folks at Energizer as part of their battery safety program called “The Battery Controlled.” The Battery Controlled is an effort from Energizer and Safe Kids Worldwide to alert parents and other caregivers to the hidden danger of coin-sized button battery ingestion.

To be honest, I was aware of the hazards that little objects pose as a chocking risk to toddlers, but I hadn’t really considered the specific dangers of the small coin-sized batteries found in many common household objects.

The facts are downright scary: Every year, approximately 3,500 incidents of button batteries being swallowed are reported to poison control centers in the U.S.  In 2012, 17 severe injuries and even two deaths were reported.

Children under four are the most risk when it comes to the dangers of button batteries and the number of cases resulting in serious injury has more than quadrupled in the past five years. The risk goes well beyond being a simple choking hazard. When one of these batteries gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can cause serious burns to the esophagus in as little as two hours.

To help keep your little one safe, remember the FOUR S’s of battery safety:

STORE devices that use coin lithium batteries out of reach of children

SELECT battery packaging that complies with the child-resistant packaging standards and recommendations made by the staff at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, such as Energizer coin lithium battery packaging

SECURE the battery compartments of devices and look for devices that contain a child safety feature for their battery doors, such as a screw or child-resistant mechanism. 

SHARE this information with your friends and family. A recent survey revealed that 62 percent of parents are not aware of the dangers of coin lithium battery ingestions.

If you think your child has swallowed a battery, go the emergency room IMMEDIATELY. Tell the doctor you think your child might have swallowed a coin-sized battery (if you can, tell the doctor the identification number on the battery’s package). Do NOT induce vomiting, and do NOT let your child eat or drink until an X-ray is complete.

In which devices are these dangerous batteries commonly found? You can find them in flameless candles, car key fobs, greeting cards, bathroom scales, calculators, small remote controls, booklights and thermometers.

For more information about battery safety, visit Energizer’s The Battery Controlled website or check out their handy infograph. The video below is an eye-opener, but the “Coin Lithium Battery Safety” video is also helpful. Plus join us to learn more about the 4 S’s of battery safety at the #BatteryControlled  Twitter party 9/24 at 12p ET here. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter for more tips, news and updates.

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  1. I don’t have kids, but I do have young children in my home quite frequently because some of our friends do have children. This was a real eye-opener for me because my husband and I have so many battery-controlled items around our apartment. I’m going to make a big point to make my home more kid-friendly by following your tips. Thanks for sharing.

  2. WOW!! I didn’t realize how dangerous batteries are!! that is so scary! I will think twice before I complain about having to use a screwdriver to open the battery compartment

  3. Wow I never really thought about this.. thanks for the thoughtful post!

  4. I was just talking about this the other day and how dangers lithium coin batteries can be. We are super cautious whenever we have to use them.

  5. I didnt think there wear that many incidents each year! Thats scarey!

  6. OMG, how scary! I’d never thought about this…and my kids have played with the remote before. I will definitely be more careful!

  7. We keep all remotes and other battery-operated devices that do not lock out of reach. A friend of mine put a battery in a container of milk as a kid, so I am super aware of the horrors that can happen with batteries.

  8. I have always tried to make sure that my kids toys were child-safe when they were little. It never occurred to me to check the battery compartment. Thanks for an informative post.

  9. I just realized some of my battery operated tea lights gave thise littke batteries in them. Thanks for the post!

  10. Wow, I never would have thought about the dangers of my devices with small batteries! My son is older now, but my brother is having a baby. I’ll be sure to warn him about this!

  11. Wow, that is super scary!

  12. Great information. I have a son who loved to put everything in his mouth when he was little. It was crazy.

  13. This tiny batteries are extremely caustic, this is a great reminder!

  14. That is scary. We only purchase toys that have the batteries screwed in and our remotes are up high out of their reach. I never knew batteries could be so dangerous. Thanks for this great post.

  15. This is really scary and all parents should be aware of this!

  16. Very good information. I’m going to share this with everyone I know.

  17. Wow, that’s kind of scary when you think about it! I don’t have little ones in the house anymore but the neighbor kids come over a lot. I had no idea about this, thanks for the heads up!

  18. Woah! That IS scary! I had never even thought about those small batteries other than as choking hazards! I am definitely going to be more aware from now on!

  19. This is such an important message to share. I hope all parents will do a better job of keeping the batteries controlled. Thanks for this.

  20. Oh my goodness I never really understood the damage that these could really do. Sharing on Twitter for other moms who may not understand the danger as well. I let my daughter play with the remote but it’s not button batteries but regardless I now have to pay extra attention to what she’s doing. Thank you for sharing this.

  21. I have heard a lot lately about the dangers of these batteries. I am alot more cautious now and make sure the itmes that do have them are out of reach

  22. Yikes! My daughter’s favorite toys right now are TV remotes and Xbox controllers. I have 3 older children and I have to constantly remind them to keep their small toys away from Olive. This is just another reminder as to why it’s extremely important to keep small objects, including batteries, away from little hands. Thank you for this important post!

  23. Oh my… I never would’ve thought of this! 🙁 How horrible for that baby to go through all that, Wowsers! I can just imagine how bad the parents felt. Thanks for bringing awareness to this.

  24. Amy Desrosiers says:

    My son’s favorite toys are anything with batteries. This has really alerted me, and quite frankly scared me! I am going to keep an even tighter eye on my little tornado now.

  25. I would never even think of the dangers of this! I have to keep a closer eye especially on my remote for the tv which seems to be very interesting to my toddler these days

  26. Now that my kids are older I can say that I forget about this!! Thanks for the reminder!

  27. Thanks for spreading the word.. This is SOOOOO important and parents hardly ever thing about it… Great post with wonderful tips; so have to share it with my friends and family; something so little can cause such harm… we have to keep our babies safe

  28. very scary indeed
    good tips to keep in mind

  29. I’ve never thought about batteries specifically! Thanks for sharing this.

  30. Such important information that needs to be shared with all parents and caregivers!!

  31. Frightening how something that is in every household could pose such a threat. I’m glad energizer has a campaign to alert people of the danger. Thanks for sharing!

  32. I’ve heard of the dangers of batteries before, it’s scary! My daughter used to always figure out how to get the remote control open and it always scared me! Now I have to hide all remotes from her.

  33. OMG! never considered the battery threat. My 3 yr old has caught the fancy of putting anything, keys, crayons, spoon, in electrical sockets….that scares me to death. Imagine swallowing a battery full of acid. Great initiative on Energizer’s part. Thanks for this post.

  34. That sound scary, i would probably freak out if it happen to my childen, Thanks for sharing this information, this will serve as an awereness. as the title implied “understanding the danger’ sometimes we overlooked this tiny pieces of battery because we are more pre-occupied with other things of child prooofing the house.

  35. Wow! I had no ideas about the batteries. I just put them up and out of reach today.

  36. A very helpful post for a young mom like me. Would definitely be cautious. Thanks for sharing!

  37. We always have them out of the kids reach… i thought this was just common sense..

  38. This is important. thank you for sharing.

  39. Oh my gosh, that is just so scary! I’m so glad you’re spreading some awareness about it!

  40. because the babies gets easily attracted to the remote control, so we really should be extra careful with the remote.

  41. I’ve seen a lot.. and I agree.. batteries can be scary, too!

  42. That’s so horrible!!!!!! What a sad and scary thing to read. I’ve been scared into making sure this never happens to my kids.

  43. OMG. Scary! I no longer have small children but I will definitely share this with my cousin who has two girls, aged 4 and 2.

    Thanks for this informative post.

  44. I had no idea but I’m happy they are taking the initiative to get the message out to people.

  45. Wow, that’s scary stuff! I’ll be sharing this with my friends and family with little ones.

  46. This is a great and informative post. Thanks for sharing, this is very scary and something we should all pay more attention to.

  47. I have never ever thought about how dangerous a battery is and I am usually the first one that gets mad over having to look for a screwdriver to open battery compartments. Being a mom of 4 kids 19, 17, 6, and 1 I never knew how dangerous batteries are.. especially for my 6 and 1 year old.. Thank You for letting me know I am actually going to have my husband fix any device we have that uses batteries to make them child proof..

  48. Oh wow…That is super scary! I don’t let my baby play with the remote, but I will have to look over his toys and make sure those little batteries are not in any of them!

  49. It’s reallly scary how often something like this happens! Parents definitely need to be more careful with batteries and things that have batteries in them!

  50. I’ve always worried about batteries. Especially now that my son is more curious and old enough to open things on his own.

  51. Oh wow, that is really scary! Especially since batteries are everywhere 🙁 Great thing to bring more awareness to.

  52. Thanks for opening my eyes to this very real danger! I had no idea! Great post!


  53. scary don’t have young kids all teens but this would even be hazardous for furbabies mine would eat it too. thanks for sharing.

  54. Great info and tips! We keep all batteries out of reach, but thanks for the reminder,

  55. Oh my! This reminds me of the time I *thought* maybe my daughter had swallowed a battery! I didn’t see it or know if she did even though she had found an open box in our garage. I panicked, called the doc. and took her to the hospital for an X-ray just to make sure. 🙁 I felt like the worst parent after that. Great and very important post!

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