Children love toys that light up, make noise, play music or move. As every Philadelphia parent knows, noisy motion toys are the first to attract the attention of children on Christmas morning, particularly very young children. When Christmas shopping for their children, Philly parents understand the importance of buying age-appropriate toys and know to watch out for small parts that can present a choking hazard when they. But tiny toy pieces aren’t the only hazard that may be lurking under your Christmas tree, Edith Pearce, Esq. warns. Few parents are aware of the potentially lethal hazard presented by the small lithium batteries that power many children’s toys.
More than 3,500 people swallow small lithium batteries every year, according to the Washington D.C.-based National Capital Poison Center. Also called disc or button batteries, Pearce Law notes that these miniature batteries are commonly used to power children’s toys, games, singing greeting cards, flashing Christmas pins and other light-up jewelry, hearing aids, watches remote control devices and numerous other items from cat toys to cooking thermometers. While lithium batteries have allowed toys and other products to become smaller and lighter-weight, their ingestion triggers hundreds of potentially dangerous swallowing incidents in Philadelphia every year, particularly during the gift-giving holiday season. Battery swallowing emergencies have become so numerous that the National Capital Poison Center operates a 24/7 hotline dedicated to battery ingestion at 202-625-3333. Philadelphia personal injury lawyers also recommend that parents keep the phone number of the National Poison Control Center — 800-222-1222 — handy in case of emergency.
When children swallow a battery, it often passes harmlessly through the digestive tract and is eliminated in the stool. However, lithium batteries can become stuck. If this occurs, the battery can generate an electrical current that can burn through tissue, causing fatal internal injuries. Toys and games with screw on battery covers can help prevent battery swallowing accidents.