Number of Button Battery-Linked Deaths and Injuries Rising, Says CPSC

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently issued a warning that as the number of coin-sized batteries used increases, so do the number of injuries and deaths. Seniors and toddlers are most at risk of accidentally swallowing the button batteries. CPSC is asking battery manufacturers and the electronics industry to develop industry standards and warnings to address safety concerns. Our products liability lawyers would like to remind you that failure to find a way to remove/remedy/warn about a safety hazard can be grounds for a lawsuit if injuries result.
According to a recent button-battery linked deaths and injuries have gone up seven-fold since 1985. In most incidents, the culprit is 3 volt batteries that are at least 20 mm in diameter. Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center conducted the study.
The disc-sized batteries become dangerous when swallowed. If they don’t get stuck in the throat, they may make their way all the way down to the intestine. Bodily fluids can cause the battery to release an electrical discharge that can cause chemical burns. Other injuries have included damage to the esophagus and the appearance of a whole between the trachea and esophagus.
Button batteries are used in thousands of products found in the home and are easy to for kids to access in toys, remote controls, games, and other products and appliances. CPSC says parents often don’t realize that their toddler has swallowed a button battery, thinking that he/she just has a stomach ache, cough, sore throat, or fever. Over 60% of cases are initially diagnosed. Last year, theArchives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery published the work of Stanley J. Kimball of Mount Carmel Health System. In his study of 10 pediatric patients who accidentally swallowed a button battery between 1998 and 2008, he found that treatment usually occurred anywhere between 6 hours to 30 days of the baby swallowing the battery.
CPSC Warns: As Button Battery Use Increases, So Do Battery-Related Injuries and Deaths, CPSC, March 23, 2011
Swallowed “button” batteries cause severe injuries in babies, Baby Center, September 20, 2010
Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery
National Capital Poison Center

Our products liability law firm represents families throughout the US. Contact Gilbert and Ollanik, PC today.


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