An Oklahoma toddler’s death has pushed so-called button batteries, or lithium batteries, into the spotlight on the heels of the holiday season. The batteries are commonly used in children's toys and musical greeting cards.
Fox 5 New York reported that 2-year-old Brianna Florer, of Jay, Oklahoma, died Monday, Dec. 28— six days after swallowing one of the batteries, which are small, silver, and shaped like a button.
While some batteries pass through the body without causing harm, others can be life-threatening when they get stuck in the esophagus and expose the body to an alkaline substance, the news station reported.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), older adults who may mistake the batteries as pills, and children under age 4 within reach of items that commonly use the batteries, are at the highest risk of swallowing them. The so-called button batteries are often used in hearing aids, as well as remote controls, calculators and wristwatches.
The CPSC warns that a child can suffer chemical burns within as few as two hours of ingesting lithium batteries. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people who have swallowed one may have abdominal and chest pain, nausea and possibly bloody vomit, but they may also be asymptomatic.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help fund Brianna’s hospital expenses as her family has had to take time off work, according to the page.
“The family doesn't want this tragedy with Brianna to happen to any other child or family,” the page’s most recent update reads. “Please be sure to share her story with all your friends and loved ones so that they will take precautions with their [children’s] toys, remotes, hearing aides (sic), and so many other things that now use these ‘button batteries.’"
As of Monday morning, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $8,900 in the five days since it had been set up— surpassing its initial goal of $7,500.