Button battery dangers for children

Many electronic toys and devices have button batteries. They are very dangerous for young children if swallowed or put in nostrils or ears.

Key points

  1. If you think your child has swallowed a button battery or put one in their nostril or ear, take immediate action – go straight to the hospital. 
  2. Button batteries are very dangerous for children if they swallow one or put one in their ear or nostril.
  3. If a child swallows or puts a button battery in their nose or ears, it can get stuck. Saliva starts an electrical current. This causes severe burns and damage within 2 hours. 

What should I do if my child swallows a button battery?

Take immediate action. Go straight to the hospital if you think your child has swallowed or put a button battery in their nose or ears.


Take immediate action. Go straight to the hospital.

Honey can help

If it won't delay getting to the hospital, give your child 2 teaspoons of honey every 10 minutes.

For babies under 12 months, there is a risk of honey causing botulism. For this reason, honey is usually not recommended for this age group. But, there is much greater risk of serious burns and damage from swallowing the button battery. 

Don't give your child any other food or drink.

How to keep kids safe from button battery injuries 

Kids under 6 are at the greatest risk of injury from button batteries. The batteries look shiny and interesting to young children.

Image credit: Pixabay

To keep your children safe: 

  • search your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain button batteries
  • keep button battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of babies and small children, and keep loose batteries locked away
  • share this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family and whānau.

Content courtesy of KidsHealth NZ which has been created by a partnership between the Paediatric Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and the Starship Foundation, supported and funded by the Ministry of Health.

Credits: KidsHealth, NZ.