A swallowed lithium battery almost cost this toddler her life

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The doctors told the parents that it may be just a flu. Unconvinced that it was as simple as that, they visited four more doctors, three of which arrived at the same diagnosis

There are many ways you can child-proof your house, but there is no child-proofing your baby from himself. Children will find a way to get into trouble; it doesn’t matter however diligent parents are. It’s just how children operate.

But that doesn’t mean parents should ever stop being vigilant. On the contrary, they should always be on high alert, especially when it comes to keeping the household as safe for children as it could be.

Take for example the case of two-year-old Katie Smith from Toronto. When she began persistently coughing for more or less a week, his father thought she had choked on something.

READ: Toddler chokes to death after swallowing Kinder egg toy

A quick check on her airways, however, ruled out the the possibility; she was breathing. Noticing that she seemed off, Katie’s parents decided to monitor her throughout the night.

A swallowed lithium battery almost cost this toddler her life

A button battery was lodged in her esophagus; Photo courtesy: CTV News

Katie continued to seem lethargic throughout the next day. “She wasn’t eating,” said Christina, Katie’s mother. “She would drink a little bit of juice here and there, but not too much. She just didn’t look normal, like her normal self, so we knew something was wrong.”

When they went to the doctors, they told the parents that it may be just the flu. Unconvinced that it was as simple as that, they visited four more doctors, three of which arrived at the same diagnosis.

READ: Swallowed battery burns hole through toddler’s lung, nearly killing her

At their fourth and final doctor ordered an X-ray. The results showed a small object lodged in her oesophagus.

“It was just so upsetting,” Christina said. “We just felt so let down that this wasn’t caught sooner.”

At the hospital where they extracted the battery, doctors discovered that it had started to corrode and damage the oesophagus. They successfully removed the object, and thankfully Katie seemed to be responding well to treatment.

Beware of batteries

Small batteries are dangerous not only because they could cut off your child air supply, but once moisture gets inside the battery, highly toxic ammonium chloride could easily seep out of the metal casing, and can poison your child.

Not only that, batteries, because of its components, can generate small electrical currents, especially when ingested.

If you find yourself in a similar situation as Katie, immediately call emergency services or your hospital for help.

Another important thing to remember is never to induce vomiting: it can cause the battery to tear or damage the oesophagus further. It could also can cause the battery to block the airway and lead to choking.

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