Health & Safety

Are you aware of the hidden danger in your child’s Christmas present?

Happy Christmas

5 minute read

Christmas is a time when families gather to celebrate, and share presents. However, a lot of people are unaware of the potential hidden danger in your child’s Christmas present. Button batteries are extremely dangerous to a child if swallowed. These batteries can be found in many festive items such as small toys, Christmas decorations, and even musical cards.

So, what is the danger?

If swallowed when combined with saliva the electric current produced by the battery produces caustic soda that can cause catastrophic burns to the airway or stomach.

It is estimated in the UK three children die and around hundred are admitted to hospital per annum after swallowing button batteries.

The following time lapse video shows how the damage occurs.

So, what can you do to reduce the danger?


Christmas is a busy time getting ready for the big day. Therefore, it is easy for people to drop their guard. Toy Safety Regulations require button battery units to be secure. However, check each toy or gadget before giving it to the child also check any loose package to ensure no loose batteries.

Discard of old batteries safely

When replacing old button batteries remember to check that the new battery is securely fitted. It is important to remember that old batteries may still have sufficient charge to course damage. Also store the old battery securely until you can safely dispose of it.


Don’t leave children alone with devices such as Christmas decorations which contain button batteries. Also, place musical Christmas cards out of the reach of young children.

What are the signs of a swallowed battery?

  • A sudden onset of crying (some children may not be in pain)
  • Drooling.
  • Decreased eating or drinking.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Hoarse voice.
  • Vomiting.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Abdominal pain, blood in saliva and stool.
What to do if a child swallows a button battery?

It’s important if a child swallows a button battery, they seek medical attention immediately. Either phone 999 or 112 for an ambulance or take the child straight to A&E. Do not encourage the child to vomit as the caustic soda can travel further up into the airway and cause further damage. It is important to also take the toy or device and any packaging to hospital with you to demonstrate to doctors the cause of your concerns about your child’s health.

Remember to stay safe and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Safely Does IT.

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