EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A new report has shown how the number of children swallowing button batteries has recently doubled.

Many of button batteries can range from the size of a hearing aid to the size of a nickel. Bigger batteries are considered to be more dangerous. Across the U.S., doctors are urging parents to be extra cautious due to there being a spike in children swallowing button batteries. 

“Usually the tissue damage can happen within a couple of hours.” 

Dr. Allison Wawer-Chubb

Since the year of 2019 according to Poisoncontrol.org, 1,843 children under the age of 6 have ingested button batteries. 2.85% of those children experienced moderate, major, or deadly effects.


Dr. Allison Wawer-Chubb, with El Paso Pediatric Associates says toddlers in general are heading to the emergency room due to them ingesting button batteries that are bigger than 12 millimeters.  

 “When it’s swallowed it usually has more of a propertsidy to get lost in the esophagus. Where it won’t swallow and get into the stomach. Where most of the time if you can make it to the stomach the acid and everything will neutralize it and allow it to leave on its own. But if it gets stuck, you have issues with rubbing against the tissue, the electrical charge destroying the tissue and also the battery chemicals corroding the tissue.” 

Dr. Allison Wawer-Chubb

Doctors also add that ingested button batteries can burn and make holes in the esophagus. They can also cause significant internal organ damage which can lead to death. 

“If you have toys at home or remote controls, be aware that they are there. They should not be in a drawer or something that a young child can access, they should be up high. Where they  can’t, or you know, make sure the screws are tight on things, so they can’t get to the batteries.”  

Dr. Allison Wawer-Chubb

Dr. Wawer-Chubb tells KTSM that she once experienced a time where a child swallowed a button battery and the x-ray missed it completely. Luckily, the child survived.

“There was some tissue damage that could have been avoided if we would have known sooner.”

Dr. Allison Wawer-Chubb

She shares how one of the things she learned is how to lessen the tissue damage by administering about 10 millimeters of honey until the parent can get to the E.R. . 

As an example, a Facebook user’s viral post shows what a button battery can do to a body with and without honey. 

According to Dr. Wawer-Chubb, the symptoms to look out for in a child are not wanting to eat, excessive drooling, respiratory problems plus throat and chest pain.   

The pediatrician does say how most coins can pass on their own and they won’t cause internal damage. She also recommends keeping an eye on your child due to how button batteries can look like coins. 

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.