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The hazards of button battery ingestion
  1. Mike Thomson,
  2. Shishu Sharma
  1. Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mike Thomson, Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Western Bank, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S10 2TH, UK; Mike.Thomson{at}

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The research report by Mohamed Sameh Shalaby1 stresses the potentially dangerous outcome of magnet ingestion. It is therefore opportune to highlight the importance of increasing awareness of magnet and button battery ingestion. There are many household battery-operated items in the modern home including toys, remote controls, hearing aids, that contribute to the availability of button batteries to young children. Children may mistake them for sweets or pills, leading to inadvertent ingestion.

The size and power of batteries have changed over the decades. Despite precautions such as blister packs and education of families, there is often a failure to prevent such accidents and the incidence of these events is ever increasing.2 Depending on whether the event has been witnessed or not, the presentation may vary. Even if witnessed, there remains a lack of understanding in parents and medical personnel alike as to the emergency nature of such an event. There is an imminent need to spread awareness to the general public as well as medical front-line staff about the potentially catastrophic outcomes of inadvertent button battery ingestion and the need for early intervention and a high index of suspicion.2–4

In the USA, the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (NBIH) at The National Capital Poison Centre (NCPC) is a designated hotline to call if battery ingestion is seen or suspected. NCPC data suggest …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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