In a now-viral tweet, one doctor reminds parents that putting batteries out of reach of children can mean the difference between life and death.
Over the weekend, Dutch pediatric gastroenterologist Lissy de Ridder shared an X-ray showing a disc battery lodged in a baby's esophagus. In her tweet, de Ridder revealed that she had removed three disc batteries from young patients in one week alone.
"Damage is severe and lifelong in one of them," she wrote. "Truly individual and societal disaster. Parents, be warned!"
Removed 3 disc batteries only this week, stuck in esophagus of babies and toddlers. Damage is severe and lifelong in one of them. Truly individual and societal disaster. Parents, be warned!— Lissy de Ridder (@LissydeRidder) January 6, 2018
Please retweet. pic.twitter.com/5PRKRKtrzC
De Ridder's tweet has made some people rally together to raise awareness.
Those types of batteries seem to be in so many things & anties uncles buy babies a music card to annoy the parents sometimes, then the baby starts sucking the card while they are chatting becuase the baby is teething then finds the battery & its gone, it happens so fast.— me (@kagorsa) January 8, 2018
According to the National Capital Poison Center, if swallowed, not only can batteries get lodged in a child's esophagus, but can also burn a hole through the tissue in just two hours. This can lead to surgery and/or life-threatening complications. In some cases, swallowing disc batteries can also be fatal.
As a result, U.K. surgeon Kate Cross told BBC News, "Button batteries should be treated like poison and kept out of reach of children."
Stories of children swallowing batteries are nothing new, and Safe Kids reports that more than 2,800 U.S. kids are rushed to emergency each year as a result.
The most well-known case was in 2010 and involved an Arizona boy named Emmett Rauch. At not even a year old, Rauch swallowed a disc battery, which burned his esophagus and paralyzed his vocal cords.
Although the youngster's esophagus was rebuilt using part of his rib, he still had to use a tracheal tube to breathe. However, after undergoing a total of 65 surgeries, Rauch was finally able to breathe on his own five years after the incident, and his tracheal tube was removed in 2015.
Stories like Rauch's and tweets like de Ridder's are important reminders of how dangerous disc batteries can be.
On Twitter, users thanked de Ridder for her eye-opening warning.
Hugely important to raise awareness of this risk. #buttonbatteryingestion can be fatal. Thank you for tweeting.— Dr Alex Barnacle (@BarnacleAlex) January 8, 2018
Wow, had never thought of this as a hazard.— Mamas Mindful Moments (@mamasmindtime) January 8, 2018
As a career poison control advice RN, I thank you for bringing attention to this dangerous ingestion. Lots of published data from American Association of Poison Control Centers.— Mary H (@MHPoison1) January 8, 2018
Also on HuffPost: