Alberta Health Services (AHS) is warning residents about the dangers of small children swallowing button batteries – the small, circular batteries that are used to power watches, cameras, calculators, hearing aids and computer games.
"Because of what they look like and their size, children can mistake button batteries for food or candy," reads a press release from AHS. "Even if a button battery appears to be dead or expired, it is still dangerous if swallowed."
Serious injury can occur within two hours of a button battery being swallowed, according to AHS. Along with the potential of getting stuck in the swallower's airway, the batteries can cause damage internal organs.
"If your child swallows a button battery, it can cause burning, corrosion, or completely destroy the tissue in the upper digestive tract," the release read. "This damage can happen very quickly and is likely to be worse if the battery gets stuck in the esophagus instead of moving into the stomach."
After swallowing a battery, a child could exhibit many potential symptoms, including wheezing or drooling, coughing and gagging when eating, trouble breathing or swallowing, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or chest or belly pain.
If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, AHS recommends taking them to a hospital or emergency department immediately.
As well, the release stated, do not try to induce vomiting.