Button Batteries

“It turns out this is one of the most damaging and dangerous things that my beautiful boy could have ever swallowed. It does not get much worse than this.” - Mother of an 8 month-old baby boy


Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board has issued a warning to parents after the death of a toddler who swallowed a button battery.

The little girl was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after she started vomiting blood, but tragically died during the operation.

Her devastated mum later discovered a remote control with a missing battery in her daughter’s bedroom.

Internal bleeding

The Safeguarding Board’s warning states:

“Button batteries power everyday objects like car key fobs, remote controls and children's toys. But did you know that if they are swallowed, they can badly injure, or even kill a child?
“Batteries react with saliva and if a child swallows a button battery it can burn holes and cause internal bleeding and even death.”

Trust your instincts

The Safeguarding Board also advises parents to trust their instincts, as the symptoms of swallowing a button battery may not be obvious.

“Your child might be coughing, gagging or drooling, or pointing to their throat or tummy. Unclear or fluctuating symptoms mean it is important to be vigilant.
“Trust your instincts and act fast even if there are no symptoms.
“If you think your child has swallowed a battery then taken them straight to the nearest A&E department or call 999 for an ambulance.”

Button batteries – where are yours?

If a big, powerful lithium coin cell battery – a thin button battery like a 5 pence piece – gets stuck in a small child’s food pipe, it can cause catastrophic internal bleeding and even death.

So it’s important to keep everyday objects with easily accessible batteries out of children’s reach, as well as spare and even ‘flat’ batteries.

Our poster helps you find button batteries in your home, so you can keep your children safe. Please share it as widely as possible. 

Download and share our poster Button Batteries: Where are yours? [PDF]


More information

Visit our button battery advice hub to find out more about the risks, read our top tips for keeping children safe, learn where you can find button batteries in your home, understand why ‘flat’ batteries are still dangerous and find out what to do in an emergency.

You can also find free images and resources to share.