'Button' batteries a deadly risk to children: 'Can get stuck in your esophagus and burn'

What to do if your child swallows a battery

EUGENE, Ore. - Nearly 3,000 children swallow button batteries every year.

Dr. Kim Ruscher at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend says that number is more than nine times more than a decade ago.

That's because most household items require batteries.

From your children's toys to car keys and even singing cards, they all require these two-centimeter wide batteries; a small, shiny object that's easy to attract a small child.

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Dr. Ruscher says a hot dog is about the size of a child's esophagus, and she showed what happens when you lodge a battery into it.

"A disk battery, or button battery can get stuck in your esophagus and burn it just like this battery is burning this hot dog," said Dr. Rusher. "Once it burns through the hot dog, it would burn through whatever is next to it. That's where we start to see children become killed."

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An illustration as to why it's so important to take your child straight to the emergency room right away if your child swallows a battery.

Dr. Ruscher says some symptoms to look out for are if your child starts coughing, drooling or showing discomfort. She also says to be aware of batteries in your house, and lock extras away from the kids.

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