Fylde Coast health leaders have urged parents to be aware of the potentially lethal dangers button batteries can pose to children.

The lithium batteries, which are used to power many of the novelty toys and decorative items used over the Christmas period, can be fatal if swallowed.

One nursery-aged child from Blackpool died last year just hours after swallowing one of the batteries, which can be easily mistaken for a small sweet and simply needs to be swallowed, not bitten or damaged in any way, to cause severe harm.

And Dr Nicky Bamford, designated doctor for safeguarding at NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group, has urged parents to be extremely careful so their children cannot get hold of the danger devices.

She said: “When the battery gets stuck in the windpipe it sets up an electrical current while in contact with the lining of the throat.

“A build-up of caustic soda then burns through the chest and the child begins to bleed.

“It’s not always easy to spot but it needs to be removed within the first two hours otherwise the damage could be too severe, so it is best to simply make sure children cannot get hold of them in the first place.”

Parents are advised to:

  • Keep devices with button batteries out of reach if the battery compartments aren’t secure, and lock away any loose batteries.
  • If a child swallows a button battery take them straight to the nearest Accident & Emergency Department.  Do not let them eat or drink and do not try to make them sick. In Accident & Emergency doctors will check whether a button battery is stuck in the throat or gullet (oesophagus) using an X-ray.
  • If a child gets a button battery stuck in the nose or ear take them to the nearest Accident & Emergency Department as soon as possible. It is important that it is removed quickly (ideally in less than 2 hours) as the battery can cause permanent damage.

 

Notes:

  • NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services in the area to meet patients’ needs. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
  • Led by family doctors (GPs), the CCG currently serves a population of 152,000 people across approximately 320 sq km of coast and countryside. The majority live in the urban towns of Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Lytham St Annes, but a significant proportion live in rural villages.
  • The CCG receives a set amount of money from the government – around £230million in 2014/15 – and is committed to spending this wisely for the benefit of local people.
  • Giving you more choice is a priority of the modern NHS. More information is available at fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/choice
  • The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient: nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/NHSConstitution/Pages/Overview.aspx
  • There are many ways to get involved in health service developments, including joining our Influence membership scheme or your practice’s patient participation group.
  • For more information about the CCG and how to get involved log onto fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk