Parents are overlooking something that is sending young kids to the hospital at an alarming rate.
Button batteries, used to power electronics, toys, greeting cards and more, are causing big problems in little children.
The Centers for Disease Control said from 1997 to 2010, emergency departments treated more than 40,000 kids who had swallowed button batteries. Of the 40,000, 14 died.
In most cases, the battery got stuck in the throat, where saliva caused a chemical breakdown in the esophagus.
Doctors said it's hard to diagnose, especially if nobody sees the child ingest the battery.
Part of what makes button batteries so dangerous is that by the time symptoms occur, like vomiting and excessive drooling, the damage has been done.
Dr. Brent Furbee with the Indiana Poison Center showed RTV6's Stacia Matthews pictures of a battery he put in a hotdog to show how quickly it can cause damage.
"Because of the electricity generated with it, and it's stuck in there, you can start to get burns," Furbee said. "It actually started to show signs of some burning in about 45 minutes."
Furbee said the burning could cause enough damage to the esophagus that it causes perforation, which can only be fixed surgically.
Even if the battery gets past the stomach, it can get stuck in the intestines and cause burns there.
Furbee offers parents this advice: keep all batteries out of reach, and be aware of all items powered by them.
"Know when you buy something what's in there," he said. "Make sure your child isn't left alone and unsupervised."
Furbee said the poison center gets calls all the time about batteries, but he said if anyone sees a child swallow a battery, they should skip that call and go straight to the ER.
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