If a Child Ingests a Button Battery, This One Thing Might Save Their Life

Best to know it and never have to use it.

Adelina Vasile
4 min readSep 7, 2022


Small 3V button battery on a green background with yellow checks.
Image by Olaf from Pixabay

“Button batteries are ingested more than 3,500 times per year in the United States.” (Source)

Button batteries can kill children.

And you have at least one such battery in your home as you’re reading this. Possibly on your car key, some remote control of electronic equipment, or even your children’s toys or sound books.

So, hopefully, you will never have to use the following information, but you must know it.

What happens if a battery gets swallowed?

Button batteries are small and shiny. Tempting a child to put it in their mouth. Easy to accidentally swallow.

On its way through the child’s intestinal tract, a battery can and will eventually erode and start leaking. Saliva causes this alkalizing reaction and if it happens in the child’s esophagus, it can lead to severe, irreversible damage. Or it can be lethal.

Here are some staggering facts, straight from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals:

“When a coin lithium button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva triggers an electrical current. This causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours.

Symptoms of coin-sized button battery ingestion may be similar to other childhood illnesses, such as coughing, drooling, and discomfort.

Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed.” (Source)

That’s what happens and why the battery should be pushed further away as fast as possible.

Now, back to that helpful trick that could make the nasty small battery prepare to evict the body much faster.

How a mother learned about battery ingestion the hard way

This trick only works if you use it on time.

The importance of timing is a detail a mother learned the hard way, on a seemingly uneventful Sunday evening.



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself. Check my Substack here >> https://undressingcopy.substack.com/