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23 Feb 2018 9:35
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  •   Home > News > Health & Safety

    Button batteries a risk to children: govt

    About 20 children are each year rushed to Auckland's Starship Hospital for treatment for swallowing a button battery, the Consumer Affairs Minister says.

    About 20 children are each year rushed to Auckland's Starship Hospital for treatment for swallowing a button battery with some needing serious emergency surgery.

    The alarming statistics show battery makers needed to improve their safety processes, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says.

    He will attend an event at Starship on Friday, alongside representatives from the hospital and Auckland District Health Board, warning of the dangers the batteries posed.

    The batteries - which fit into small electronic devices, such as watches - can not only choke and block a child's airways, they can be corrosive to human tissue.

    The corrosive process is called hydrolisation and is caused by the electric current from the battery reacting with body fluids to create a current which in turn "eats into tissue".

    It can visibly begin damaging tissue within 30 minutes with health authorities warning that time is of the essence when treating a child suspected of swallowing a button battery.


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