More Information

Find PAMPA Pediatrics on Facebook

Accidental Ingestion of Batteries And Magnets

Each year nearly 3500 people swallow mini disc or button batteries. The National Poison Center tells us that most of these button batteries pass through the body and are eliminated. Unfortunately, sometimes the battery gets stuck and these are the ones that cause a problem. A battery that does not move through can stick to the tissue and leak. This can cause chemical burns and occasionally electrical burns. If you suspect a battery has been swallowed, please call the BATTERY INGESTION HOTLINE at 202-625-3333. It may be helpful to have information about the kind of battery ingested. Do not wait for symptoms to develop. DO NOT GIVE IPECAC. Your child should be evaluated immediately in the emergency department. If the battery is stuck in the esophagus, it must be removed with an endoscope. If an ingested battery is past the esophagus, it will probably pass by itself in a bowel movement.

Facts about battery ingestion:

1) 62% occur in children under 5 years of age.
2) 49% are batteries for hearing aids, toys or games
3) 25% are swallowed because they are mistaken for pills
4) 8% of the time multiple batteries are swallowed
5) Battery size is a predictor of lodging
6) Older kids think of the mouth as a 3rd hand and hold the battery in the mouth while working with a
toy or game with their hands
7) Leakage and electric current are major mechanisms for damage to tissue
8) Lithium batteries pose a higher risk due to their size


Pediatricians have been aware of the danger of magnet ingestion for a long time. There are new standards for products that contain multiple magnets in toys for children. Unfortunately, these standards do not extend to adult toys and products. Magnet ingestion has led to intestinal obstruction and bowel perforation. If two of the magnets get into the intestine together, they attract each other and can cause bowel obstruction and eventual perforation.
Prevention of ingestion of batteries or magnets is key! Be sure to talk to your kids about safe toys. With the Holiday season upon us, with family visiting or upcoming travel, remember to keep small objects like magnets and batteries out of the reach of children!!!!

Written by Dr. Stephen King
On Behalf of PAMPA

© 2011 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
Woodstock pediatric practice and pediatricians | Alpharetta Pediatrician | North Atlanta Pediatricians | Alpharetta Pediatricians | Roswell Pediatricians | Northside Pediatricians | Roswell Pediatrician
Pediatric Website Designed and Maintained by Medical Management Associates

The content on our web site (and the links to external sites) are provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to replace the advice of a professional healthcare physician, and should not be taken as medical advice. Additionally, this content should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. The content is in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care. If you have any questions about any of the content on our web site (or another), please contact our practice to discuss.