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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

December 02, 2021, Alexander, Ilce ,
Toy and Battery Safety
Toy and Battery Safety

With the holidays around the corner parents are beginning to shop for the perfect gift for their children. It is important to make informed purchase decisions for toys and other gifts. Before you tackle any cyber deals or purchase in store deals be sure to follow these safety recommendations to keep your child safe year-round:

  1. Purchase well-made toys that secure batteries - Always purchase toys that are secured with a screw and require a tool to open the battery compartment. This offsets any loose pieces or batteries.
  2. Read the labels - Choose toys that are appropriate for the child’s age and always look for any pieces that may be a hazard.
  3. Include safety gear - Keep children safe by also providing helmets with any riding toys that you purchase which includes bicycles, scooters, and skateboards.
  4. Inspect toys – Inspect a toy prior to gifting to ensure that there are not any broken or small pieces, as well as sharp edges.
  5. Be careful with magnets - Avoid purchasing magnet sets with small pieces. Children can easily put these small pieces in their mouths. If a child swallows more than one magnet they can attract each other and forcefully pull your child’s digestive system together leading to serious injuries.    
  6. Complete and submit product registration cards - When you submit your registration card, you allow manufactures to send you notifications in case of a recall.
  7. Always provide supervision. The holidays bring families together with children from various ages and developmental levels.  Supervise to ensure toys intended for older children do not end up in the hands of the younger children.  Toys will break when they are repeatedly dropped by children.

Dr. Molitor, a Pediatric Surgeon from Phoenix Children's, has shared some important toy safety recommendations to bring awareness to families on the hidden dangers of toys, specifically as it relates to button batteries. Adults may not be aware that button batteries can be found in items such as ornaments, lighted decorations, flameless tea light candles, holiday greeting cards, children’s books, holiday lighted jewelry, lighted headbands, holiday lighted sweaters/clothing, etc. You can also find them in many household items such as thermometers, watches, calculators, remote controls etc. Dr. Molitor has shared “When a child swallows a button battery, the battery can get stuck in the esophagus. This could result in a caustic injury to the esophagus causing infection, internal bleeding, serious burn injuries or even death.” These injuries can occur quickly and cause burning in as little as two hours. If a toy requires a battery be sure to:

  1. Always store batteries out of reach for young children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  2. Never leave batteries out on counters, cabinets, drawers, or tables.

If you suspect that your child ingested a battery do not delay care.  It is important that children be taken immediately to a local emergency department for treatment. For further support you can also contact the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666. The symptoms of battery ingestion can occur quickly. Symptoms to look for include:

  1. High fever
  2. Difficulty swallowing
  3. Drooling
  4. Vomiting
  5. Difficulty breathing
  6. Pain in the throat, chest, or stomach

Dr. Molitor shares an estimated 30-50% of toys are button battery powered. Therefore, the next time that you are out shopping for the perfect gift remember to follow these toy safety recommendations and never leave children unattended around batteries of any size. To learn more about the danger’s batteries watch this informative video on the effects of button batteries or contact Ilce Alexander, senior injury prevention specialist at Phoenix Children’s Center For Family Health & Safety, by calling 602-933-3393.

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