Small batteries can pose big risk for children, elderly

Jul 12, 2021


As an experienced healthcare facility specializing in geriatric and aging care, Regency Square Care Center is committed to providing the utmost safety and protection for your loved ones. In this article, we shed light on the often overlooked dangers associated with small batteries and the significant risk they pose, particularly to children and the elderly.

The Hidden Hazards

Small batteries, such as button cell batteries commonly found in toys, remote controls, hearing aids, and other household devices, can be easily swallowed or inserted into ears, noses, or other body cavities by curious children or those suffering from cognitive decline. The consequences of such incidents can be severe and life-threatening if left unaddressed.

Dangerous Chemical Composition

Button cell batteries, though small in size, contain potentially harmful chemicals such as mercury, lithium, or alkaline substances. When ingested or improperly handled, these chemicals can cause tissue damage, burns, and internal bleeding. Immediate medical attention should be sought if battery ingestion is suspected.

Risks to Children

Children, in particular, are at significant risk due to their natural curiosity and tendency to explore the world through oral exploration. The size and shape of small batteries make them easily mistaken for candy or playful objects, increasing the chances of accidental swallowing. Sadly, such incidents can have devastating consequences, including severe injuries, internal organ damage, or even death.

Risks to the Elderly

For the elderly population, the risk lies not only in the potential for accidental ingestion but also in the difficulty of identifying and reporting such incidents. Cognitive decline, dementia, or physical impairments may hinder their ability to communicate discomfort or seek immediate medical attention. Caregivers and family members should remain vigilant and take precautions to prevent battery-related accidents.

Prevention and Safety Measures

Secure Battery Compartments

Ensuring that battery compartments are securely closed is essential, especially for devices accessible to young children or those with impaired cognitive abilities. Regularly check and replace worn-out or loose battery covers to minimize the risk of batteries being dislodged and swallowed.

Keep Small Batteries Out of Reach

Store small batteries, as well as devices using them, in secure locations out of the reach of children and vulnerable adults. Utilize childproof locks or safely store items in locked cabinets to prevent accidental access.

Proper Disposal

When it comes to battery disposal, it is vital to follow proper guidelines to minimize environmental impact and prevent accidental exposure. Local recycling centers often accept small batteries, ensuring they are handled appropriately and safely.

Recognizing Battery Ingestion

Identifying battery ingestion can be challenging, as symptoms may be subtle or mimic common illnesses. However, if you notice any of the following signs, remember to seek immediate medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Unexplained fever or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Uncharacteristic lethargy or irritability


At Regency Square Care Center, we understand the paramount importance of sharing essential information regarding the risks associated with small batteries and how they can pose a significant threat to the well-being of children and the elderly. By staying informed, practicing preventative measures, and taking prompt action in case of emergencies, we can help create a safer environment for everyone. Together, we can raise awareness and protect those we care for.