News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Medical awareness to reduce button battery injury risk

Medical staff awareness needed to reduce growing button battery injury risk

The Battery Controlled partnership was launched in New Zealand today to help raise awareness among parents and medical first responders, such as paramedics, practice nurses, GPs, A&M and hospital emergency department staff, on a little known issue that has serious and even fatal consequences to small children—the ingestion or insertion of powerful button batteries or coin-sized lithium batteries.

When a child swallows or inserts a button battery in the nose or ears, it can get stuck in the throat, nose or ear canal. Saliva or secretions trigger an electrical current causing severe burns and tissue damage within 2 hours. This results in serious injury that may require surgery, or even the death of the child.

Dr Michael Shepherd, Clinical Director of the Children’s Emergency Department at Starship Children’s Hospital and co-author of the research paper ‘Button battery injury in children—a primary care issue’ published recently in the Journal of Primary Health Care, said rapid response is needed when a child is suspected to have ingested or inserted a button battery.

“Symptoms of button battery exposure, such as coughing, drooling, loss of appetite and discomfort, are similar to other common illnesses and so this problem can be difficult to detect,” Dr Shepherd said.

“If there is a possibility that a child has swallowed a button battery or inserted it in their nose or ear, they should be taken to the nearest hospital emergency department immediately to prevent severe injury,” Dr. Shepherd added.

Often small children are reluctant to say if they have swallowed a button battery and even when children have X-rays, button batteries can be mistaken for a coin. “A high level of suspicion is required among medical staff to diagnose button battery ingestion or insertion and arrange for urgent removal.” Dr Shepherd said.

The Battery Controlled partnership, led by Safekids Aotearoa and Energizer, also invites agencies, organisations, community groups and individuals to help share important safety messages to parents and caregivers SEARCH, SECURE, SHARE & GET HELP FAST:
• SEARCH your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain button batteries.
• SECURE button battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of babies and small children, and keep loose batteries locked away.
• SHARE this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family and whanau.
• GET HELP FAST if you suspect a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery in the nose or ear. Take the child to the nearest hospital emergency department immediately.

According to Safekids Aotearoa child injuries related to the ingestion or insertion of button batteries is a growing concern. In the U.S. about 3,500 button battery swallowing cases are reported each year—a number that has quadrupled in recent years. In Australia, an estimated 4 children per week are taken to an emergency department with an injury related to a button battery.

In New Zealand, 61 button battery ingestion or insertion incidents presented at Starship Children’s Hospital in the three year period March 2009 and February 2012. The National Poisons Centre has also received 175 button battery related calls from 2011–2013.

"Button batteries are found in everyday devices, such as mini remote control devices that unlock car doors and control MP3 speakers, calculators, bathroom scales, reading lights, flameless candles, talking and singing books and greeting cards,” said Ann Weaver, Director of Safekids Aotearoa.

“Because many of the devices that use button batteries are not children's toys, the battery compartments are easy to open, even for babies and small children,” Ms Weaver added.

The Battery Controlled is also working with manufacturers and retailers. Starting in April Energizer lithium coin-sized cell batteries will be available in child-resistant packaging, with a double-blister around the batteries, making it extremely difficult for younger children to access the batteries from the packs.

Energizer has also added easily understood icons on the front of the package to encourage parents to keep the batteries away from small children, along with information on what to do if a child swallows a button battery.

The New Zealand Retail Association and Trading Standards, an operational unit in the Consumer Protection and Standards branch of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, are working with other battery manufacturers and retailers to help educate consumers.

A research project is also currently underway at Victoria University School of Design in Wellington, which hopes to develop child-safe button batteries and packaging. Organisations and individuals are invited to be a partner of The Battery Controlled.

To find out more, visit www.TheBatteryControlled.co.nz.

About Safekids Aotearoa
Safekids Aotearoa is the injury prevent ion service of Starship Children’s Health and a member of SAFE KIDS Worldwide. Our mission is to reduce the incidence and severity of unintentional injuries to New Zealand's children aged 0 - 14 years. For more information, visit www.safekids.org.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Eddie Izzard: UK Comedy Legend Returns

Hailed as one of the foremost stand up comedians of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion Icon... February 2015, Eddie Izzard will bring his massive FORCE MAJEURE world tour to New Zealand with tickets going on sale at 10am on Tuesday 28th October. More>>

Festival Starts 28 Oct: Improv Fest Makes Up New Show

For any other festival, finding out less than two weeks from showtime that half the cast of a programmed show can’t make it to New Zealand would be a nightmare. Instead, the New Zealand Improv Festival Director Jennifer O’Sullivan saw an opportunity ... More>>

NZ Music Awards Finalists: Lorde, Sol3 Mio Top 2014 Tuis Charge

Lorde has taken the music world by storm during the past year and she co-leads the 2014 Tui charge with five finalist spots. Joining her is newcomer family opera trio, Sol3 Mio. They are followed closely by Ladi6 and David Dallas, both up for four awards each. More>>

From 'Luther' Creator: Major New Zealand Crime Series For BBC

Libertine Pictures and writer Neil Cross have teamed up with leading international TV producer Carnival Films to develop a major new crime series set in Rotorua. Libertine will develop the contemporary drama series with Carnival, producer of internationally-acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey, for the BBC. More>>

ALSO:

Family Statement: Death Of Ewen Gilmour

“Ewen was a much loved and cherished member of our family, he was a larger than life character and by his very nature was kind, generous and always giving of his time to those who asked for his help." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival - Line-Up Announced

Traversing seven cities and three countries, the festival has well and truly settled into its home in each state. From the grassy knolls and towering silos at home in Auckland, to the sparkling backdrop of the Maribyrnong... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news