Media Release | Online Tool to Reduce Button Battery Injury Risk

Safekids Aotearoa, Energizer, Ministry of Health and Trading Standards (a unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) announced today an online tool to help emergency medical staff diagnose and treat children suspected of button battery injuries. 

Using new interactive video technology for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, GPs, paramedics, A&M and hospital emergency department staff can easily access button battery injury diagnosis and treatment information from www.TheBatteryControlled.co.nz. 

This new online tool is in response to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) call for regulators, manufacturers and child health experts to help address the growing button battery child injury concern faced by consumers and the medical profession. OECD has declared 16-20 June 2014 as the International Awareness Week on Button Battery Safety.

When swallowed or inserted in the nose or ears, button batteries can get stuck and cause serious burn injuries within 2 hours. This results in severe tissue damage and can cause the death of a child.  

Ann Weaver, Director of Safekids Aotearoa said GPs and emergency medical staff must have a high level of suspicion when they are presented with a child suspected of swallowing or inserting a button battery. 

“Symptoms of button battery exposure are similar to other common illnesses, such as coughing, drooling, loss of appetite and discomfort. In X-rays, button batteries can also be mistaken for a coin. 

“www.TheBatteryControlled.co.nz provides vital diagnosis and treatment information as recommended by the Clinical Director of Starship Hospital’s Emergency Department,” Ms Weaver said. 

Parents and caregivers can also visit www.TheBatteryControlled.co.nz to learn about keeping children safe -- including what to do if they suspect a child has swallowed a battery. 

Parents are advised that even if there is a small possibility that a button battery has been swallowed or inserted in the nose or ears, immediately take the child to the nearest hospital emergency department to have the button battery removed. 

“Button batteries are increasingly present in our homes, powering useful gadgets and essential devices. Information sharing is needed to make sure our children are kept safe around button batteries,” Ms Weaver said.

For NZ button battery injury statistics and more information, visit www.TheBatteryControlled.co.nz

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Media Contact: 
Anthony Rola
anthonyr@adhb.govt.nz
09 631 0717