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Toddler Dies After Swallowing Button Battery

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Now her mom wants to warn other parents about this hidden danger.

toddler dies from swallowing battery

This story just breaks our hearts. Last week, 2-year-old Elaina Redding bled to death three weeks after swallowing a button-sized battery.

Her parents told CBS they believe she got the battery from a handheld Yahtzee game. Elaina swallowed the battery on May 2 and started clutching her chest, saying it hurt, her parents said. She had endoscopic surgery to remove the battery, and she was released on May 6.

On May 20, she began coughing up blood. She hemorrhaged to death about 2 AM on May 21. Elaina's esophagus and aorta eroded, causing the esophageal hemorrhage.

Elaina's mother, Donna Ryan, has a warning for all parents. "Put the batteries under lock and key," she says. "The nurse at the hospital said batteries are like bullets and you need to keep them locked up like that."

Pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson says ingested batteries can be extremely dangerous for three different reasons:

• The battery itself can block the airway or the intestinal tract
• Batteries contain alkali, which can corrode tissues
• The voltage generated by the battery can cause a burn.

The National Capital Poison Center said more than 3,000 people of all ages in the United States each year unintentionally swallow miniature disc or "button" batteries. Ten percent of kids who swallow button batteries die, according to the poison center. That's because batteries lodged in the esophagus can cause severe burns in just two hours. Within six hours, the battery can eat through the esophagus or the organ it is lodged against, and within eight to 10 hours, it can cause death.

Symptoms in children include refusing to take fluids, an increase in salivation, vomiting, and abdominal tenderness. But in one study, nine of 25 patients had no symptoms at all. That's why officials say do not wait for symptoms to develop before getting an X-ray. If the battery remains in the esophagus, it must be removed immediately.

Experts warn not to give your child ipecac if he or she has swallowed a battery.

This story reminds us that common household items -- like batteries -- can pose very real risks. Remember to keep batteries out of the reach of young children. If you have an older child, remind him never to put a battery in his mouth under any circumstances.

Our thoughts are with Elaina's family in this tragic time.



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38 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nell May 29, 2009, 3:25 PM

My heart goes out to her and makes me realized how blessed I am that my child has not swallowed a battery. I certainly have taken enough of them out of her mouth.

K May 29, 2009, 5:18 PM

My heart too goes out to the family, that is so sad..

Mic May 29, 2009, 6:20 PM

I am so sad. I just emailed this article to everyone I know to be aware! It scared me so bad. I have let my little one change the batteries in toys before, I was supervising, but not that carefully.

K&C's mom May 30, 2009, 12:03 AM

This made me cry!!! How sad for the family!! Thank you for sharing this story and giving a warning to the rest of us, so we don’t have to go through the same heart break!!!!

Cyn May 30, 2009, 1:12 AM

Elaina is my daughter-in-law’s neice and we held the services today and it was so difficult. thank you all for your kind words. these parents took her back to the hospital 3 times and the third time is when she passed. they basically did nothing everytime they took her. don’t put all your trust in doctors.

Cyn May 30, 2009, 1:16 AM

Elaina is my daughter-in-law’s neice and this precious child was laid to rest today. thank you for your kind words and please make sure everyone that has children know about this.

Anna May 31, 2009, 2:57 PM

This was my great-niece. A very happy child who was always dancing. The pain this family is suffering is unimaginable. It is my understanding that after Brighton Hospital xrayed this baby they gave her to the parents to transport to Children’s Hospital even after the father explained he didn’t have any idea how to get there. He even asked them to transport her by ambulance. Instead they gave him a mapquest. Removing this battery as soon as possible could have made a life or death difference. The people who decided not to transport her by ambulance should have to feel this family’s pain.

Na_Na June 4, 2009, 4:36 PM

im sorry for what happened …………………..god bless you an your family ………………………………….with”LOVE”

denise rose June 7, 2009, 12:52 PM

I WAS LOOKING UP INFORMATION AND CAME ACROSS THIS.IN JUNE 2008 MY 1 YR OLD SON ALSON SWALLOWED A BUTTON BATTERY.WE DONT KNOW WHERE HE GOT IT FROM OR HOW LONG IT WAS STUCK IN THERE.HE HAD TO HAVE IT REMOVED AND WAS NOT ABLE TO EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING FOR 1 MONTH BECAUSE THE BATTERY HAD BURNED A HOLE WHERE IT HAD GOTTEN STUCK.1 YEAR LATER HE STILL HAS MANY HEALTH PROBLEMS DO TO THIS AND WILL HAVE THEM FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.HE HAS HAD TO HAVE HIS THROAT STRETCHED OUT SEVERAL TIMES FROM SCAR TISSUE BUILDING UP.MY HEART GOES OUT TO THIS FAMILY SO VERY MUCH.I KNOW IT IS HARD TO DEAL WITH LOSING A CHILD AND I HAVE ALSO DONE THAT.THERE HAS TO BE MORE THAT WE CAN DO TO MAKE OTHER PARENTS AWARE OF THIS DANGER…

Coin Operated Machine June 8, 2009, 12:53 PM

You know..many items that use button batteries have doors with a screw so how are the children even getting to them?

Worried Mom August 13, 2009, 5:57 PM

My 1 yr old daughter some how got a hold of a button battery on Tuesday and swallowed it. We called poison control and they seemed like it was no big deal at all. I had just heard about this story on the news and was really worried so I took her to the ER anyways…same thing, Dr.s said it was no big deal and it would pass in a couple of days….its now Thursday and I am taking her back to the ER because she is not even having bowel movements now….how can this be no big deal after this happened to this poor little girl and her family? I am so frustrated!

stacey December 12, 2009, 7:51 AM

My heart goes out to the family, my daughter was 11 months old and managed to get hold of a button battery she had it stuck for 7 hrs due to the hospital not xraying her straight away and then keeping her waiting as they said it was a coin she was in intensive care for week and has had 5 operations to help her breathing but she has now been left with bilateral vocal cord paralysis and will never fully recover. I’m trying to make parents aware of the dangers of batteries i have a group on facebook, which is just the start. as we were told that she was the only case of this and we have recently found case after case….. Im so angry that this is still happening as we were told that they will treat all coin like bodies as batteries and there ovbiously not doing there jobs properly as it’s still happening.

Anonymous December 26, 2009, 6:02 PM

This is strange. The same month this year my son also died from the same exact thing. He was two and a half. Also sort of resembles this little girl. The watch battery was in his esophagus for one week when he one day threw up blood clots in which we found the battery in. The hospital had him taken by ambulence three hours away to a childrens hospital. He was to be scoped to see what damage had been done. He layed in hospital for about six hours with nobody doing anything but taking his blood. He finally started hemmoraging and died may 8, 2009. I don’t know why they didn’t do more or treat it serious. I am sorry to every person who has lost a child.

Anonymous December 26, 2009, 6:07 PM

This is strange. The same month this year my son also died from the same exact thing. He was two and a half. Also sort of resembles this little girl. The watch battery was in his esophagus for one week when he one day threw up blood clots in which we found the battery in. The hospital had him taken by ambulence three hours away to a childrens hospital. He was to be scoped to see what damage had been done. He layed in hospital for about six hours with nobody doing anything but taking his blood. He finally started hemmoraging and died may 8, 2009. I don’t know why they didn’t do more or treat it serious. I am sorry to every person who has lost a child.

Karina alvarado August 1, 2010, 5:31 AM

My son swallowed a watch battery last Thursday. He has been getting several x-rays, making sure that the battery is going down. If the battery does not come out in his poop today, he has got to have another x-ray tomorrow morning. Pray for my son, thank you.

cheyenne August 17, 2010, 1:56 AM

Karina, what is the resut with your son? is he ok ? is he recoverying because im mom of 2 girl …

J.Slauson August 24, 2010, 5:16 AM

yall have me very scared now yesterday morning i was playing with my 16mnth old she had a spining top that lights up we wound it up for the 30th time it seamed like and when it hit the floor it spun to abought 7peaces i was picking them up when my daughter gaged behind me i turned their was nothing in her mouth when i found all the peaces their was a button sized battery missing so i called the doctors office they had me take her to the er they did an x-ray and said its in her stomic and it will pass she swallowed the battery on monday around 7:30 am she had the x-ray around 11am now she has bad diarea and it smells horible but she still hasnt passed the batturie its now tuesday. I got on here to look up some more info to make sure her symptoms were alright. and found this artical are their any stories were the kid survives this.


J.Slauson August 24, 2010, 12:15 PM

the batterie passed threw and is now out their is no harm all is well just thought i would leave an update for you.

Cure Hemorrhoids November 27, 2010, 7:18 PM

Fine site. Very helpful, you describe the topic very well

marbella rentals December 10, 2010, 5:46 AM

Useful reading. Thanks so much, have a nice day!


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