Small cell batteries pose danger to children

LOS ANGELES Lonnie and Michelle Truett's youngest son, Aidan, died after he swallowed a tiny battery.

"It just really changes you," Lonnie Truett says. "There's no greater loss than the loss of a child.

"There's no describing the everyday pain," his wife added.

Don Mays of /*Consumer Reports*/ says tiny lithium button-cell batteries are found in all kinds of products, like children's toys, clocks, remotes, watches and even musical greeting cards.

In some products, like certain talking children's books, a child cannot get access to the battery.

"Musical books are regulated as toys," Mays says, "so you need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment."

But musical greeting cards are different. With many, a child can tear open the card and get to the battery.

With remotes, like for an /*iPod*/ docking station, the battery is also easily accessible.

"These batteries are smaller and easier for a child to swallow," Mays says. "And the injuries can be severe. They can actually burn a hole through a child's esophagus."

To demonstrate the danger, Consumer Reports placed a button-cell battery between two slices of ham.

"After three days, the battery burned the top piece of ham, but it actually burned a hole in the bottom piece of ham," Mays says.

The Truetts don't know where their son found the battery he swallowed, but they've removed all button-cell batteries from their home.

"There's no sense in keeping them around because your child's life is not worth it," Michelle says.

Be aware, not all greeting cards pose a risk. Some come with a secure cover over the battery which is a far safer design.

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