KMC Doc Joshi says ‘Button Batteries Pose a Risk to Children
Mangaluru: Dr Jayatheertha Joshi, Consultant Paediatric and Neonatal Surgeon, KMC Hospital, Mangaluru speaking to Team Mangalorean said “ The rising use and careless handling of button batteries at home have left children vulnerable to accidental swallowing of these objects. Along with coins that are most common, doctors in the city are also seeing cases of children swallowing these ‘round and shiny’ objects.
Dr Jayatheertha Joshi
He further said, “In the last four years, we have seen at least six cases of children swallowing button batteries. This is the most dreaded because when a button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, it causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the oesophagus. It may cause a tracheoesophageal fistula, a connection between the oesophagus and the trachea”.
“In 90% of the cases, parents would not have noticed it and reach out to the doctors when the child has vomiting and fever. Also, the problem does not end once the button battery is removed. It leads to tissue edema (swelling) and the children may face breathing difficulty or infection in the future. In the two cases reported last year, the battery discharge caused sepsis. There are many cases where children may require surgery in the future, due to narrowing of the food pipe,” he added.
It is learnt that Children between 1-5 years have the tendency to put anything they find into their mouth. When they swallow something, it may go into their airway or when they swallow objects such as buttons, coins, screws and sharp objects, it might go to the gastrointestinal system causing injury to the food pipe.
Mini Hair Claw Clips
“In KMC Hospital itself, we get to see at least 30 cases of children swallowing coins, beads, hair pins, screws, and organic stuff such as arecanut, groundnut, custard apple seeds and so on in a year. Due to aspiration or accidental swallowing, the organic stuff may go through the windpipe and block one side of the lung. Most of the cases are detected when children visit the hospital with a history of recurrent respiratory tract infection or pneumonia. The child could be restless, face breathing difficulties or may have turned blue,” said Dr Joshi.
Sharp Edged Screws
He added saying, “Though at the time of immunisation, parents are told about what children should be kept away from, the number of aspirations and swallowing of foreign bodies is only increasing. Further, it is also important to keep toilet cleaners away from children’s reach”.