Children’s hands were made to explore and learn. While toddlers are in the process of finding new objects and discovering things to play with, parents are constantly tasked with keeping dangerous objects out of reach of their children.
Unfortunately not everything can be prevented. George Asan learned this when his 2-year-old daughter Francesca swallowed a button battery without his knowledge.
Francesca did not show any signs of choking or discomfort, so George was unaware of what was happening inside her little body. Button batteries are not only a choking hazard, but are dangerous enough to be considered poisonous.
When the battery came in contact with Francesca’s internal fluids, it began to corrode. The corrosion burned her from the inside and caused internal bleeding.
Without symptoms to look for, George did not catch his daughter’s accident in time. After losing Francesca, George teamed up with Child Accident Prevention Trust to make sure no other child and parent have to suffer through something similar.
In an emotional video, George told Francesca’s story and remembered his little girl as “full of life.” Though George feels guilty for what happened, he knows he cannot change the past. He is now focusing on changing the future for other parents.
What happened to Francesca is not an anomaly. According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, more than 3,400 children swallowed button batteries in 2010.
Doctors are seeing cases like Francesca’s at an alarming rate, making it important for parents to know what to do in these situations. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as making sure sharp objects are out of a child’s reach.
Button batteries are in hundreds of household objects. They can be found in key fobs, thermometers, musical greeting cards, children’s toys, and watches, just to name a few.
Even more alarming is how easy it is for children to open battery packs and take them out. In the video made by Child Accident Prevention Trust, it is demonstrated how simply popping off a cap can reveal a button battery in a child’s thermometer.
George’s warning to all parents is to be extremely aware of what you bring into your home. If something contains a button battery, make sure it is not easy to access and keep it far out of reach of children.
Knowing whether or not your child has swallowed a battery is also difficult to determine. If the child completely swallows the battery and has no trouble breathing, they may display symptoms resembling a stomach ache or virus.
If you think your child has swallowed a button battery, it is recommended that you take them to emergency care immediately. Once activated by fluids, such as saliva, button batteries begin producing caustic soda, which can burn through flesh and organ lining.
In other cases, button batteries have burned holes through a young patient’s throat and esophagus, causing irreversible damage. Permanent damage can be caused in just a few short hours.
Though it is terrifying to think that this is yet another household item that can harm and even kill small children, it is best to be aware of the possibility. It is George’s hope, and that of parents who have experienced similar tragedies, that others can learn from their individual cases and prevent it from happening to their own kids.
George’s selflessness in speaking about this issue is creating necessary awareness to save lives. To continue raising awareness for this serious issue, we encourage you to share this story with anyone who has or is planning to have children.
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