HOUSTON - Some are issuing a warning before you buy cards or gifts for families with young children this holiday season. Miniature disc or button batteries inside many popular products have already cost several children their lives.
Every year in the United States, more than 3,500 people of all ages are said to swallow miniature disc or "button" batteries according to the National Capital Poison Center. Without quick action, that little battery can cause serious injury or even kill.
Mark and Susan Sadauskas said the only sign something was wrong with their son Max came at dinner time.
"Shortly after eating a couple of bites, Max threw up his food and he never had done that," said Mark Sadauskas.
Max's mom remembered finding this old remote control on the floor an hour earlier. She realized 1-year-old Max could have swallowed the tiny battery inside.
"I never would have thought that he could have gotten this little case off of this battery and ingest something like that, and they're everywhere," said Susan Sadauskas.
X-rays showed the battery was lodged in Max's esophagus. Dr. Kris Jatana of Nationwide Children's Hospital said Max's parents reacted quickly enough to save him from serious injury.
"The clock is ticking from the moment the battery is placed inside the body, and serious injury can occur within two hours," said Jatana.
Too many times, parents don't know their child's sickness is caused by a button battery.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a recent study showed more than 60 percent of reported incidents initially were misdiagnosed.
The symptoms can mimic that of a stomach bug causing a deadly delay in seeking help. In the meantime, the battery can burn into the airway and even into the aorta.
A recent study found the majority of children who swallow these batteries remove them from a device first.
Max's parents said they are extremely lucky and know that their situation could have been a lot worse. Now they want every family to take steps to prevent a tragedy.
These batteries are found in singing cards, talking books, toys, keychains, electronic devices, and more.
If you purchase one of these items, make sure the button battery is secured in a compartment that requires a screwdriver to open. If young children will be in your home this holiday season, do a sweep of your house first to remove any items that don't meet that requirement.
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