2020 Children's Day special ...tips to save your child from Death - aksu360

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2020 Children's Day special ...tips to save your child from Death

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Batteries are everywhere in your home. They are in toys, electronics, remote controls and other personal care items. Many times you probably don't even think about them or about the potential hazard they can pose for your toddlers. 

While batteries are not something to freak out about, on the 2020 Children's Day celebration, parents do need to be more aware of the risks and take appropriate precautions.

While most button battery ingestions are benign, passing through the gut without a problem, in recent years the number of debilitating or fatal battery ingestions has dramatically increased. Fatalities and cases with severe esophageal or airway burns and subsequent complications have been reported, even in patients who initially have no symptoms after swallowing the battery.

These disastrous outcomes occur when batteries get stuck in the esophagus, usually in small children. Large diameter button batteries, especially 20 mm diameter lithium coin cells, are implicated in most of these serious cases, but other battery types and smaller button batteries may also get stuck and cause serious problems. Burns and life-threatening complications can occur if batteries aren't removed from the esophagus within 2 hours. 

Batteries beyond the esophagus rarely cause a problem and can usually be left to pass spontaneously if the patient remains asymptomatic. Serious complications have also been seen when small batteries are placed in the nose or ear - another situation where urgent removal is critical.

Dr. Harvey Olufunmilayo advises parents never to leave batteries lying around the house that has kids. If a child swallows a battery, he or she should be taken to the clinic or hospital immediately.

Why are batteries dangerous if swallowed?
This is because the battery itself reacts with bodily fluids, such as mucus or saliva. That reaction creates a circuit that releases a substance just like caustic soda, which is a strong alkali that can burn a hole through the throat.
This hole in the throat can create a channel (fistula) between the oesophagus and trachea (windpipe). It may destroy the vocal cords. It may also burn through the blood vessels in the chest, like the aorta (main blood vessel leading from the heart)- causing massive bleeding.

So what do I do if my child swallowed a battery?
- Do NOT give child anything to drink
- Do NOT give child anything to eat
- Do NOT try to make the child vomit it. Making the child vomit would cause more damage to the throat as the battery comes back up.
- Do nothing. Go to hospital. 
Dr. Harvey Olufunmilayo
What happens at hospital? 
Doctors will do an X-ray to locate the battery and estimate the size. They can then use a flexible tube with camera at the end to pull out the battery. All this will be done by specialists as an emergency procedure while the child is put to sleep. 

How can I prevent kids from swallowing batteries? 
1. Keep new unused batteries in their original package out of sight and reach of children. Keep them on top of shelves where kids can’t reach or get to. 
2. Use a tape to seal battery compartments of watches, remote control etc 
3. Only buy your toys and equipment from reliable sources – they are more likely to have passed safety regulations.  
4. When a battery has died, please throw it away safely straightaway. Do NOT keep old batteries at home or anywhere kids may get to. Always dispose them properly. 
5. Please do not put old used batteries in the general house dustbin. Put them in special disposal containers and ask the waste management people on how to safely dispose them. Many supermarkets also have battery disposal bins for such purposes. 

The Bottom Line
Swallowed batteries burn through a child’s esophagus in just 2 hours, leading to surgery, months with feeding and breathing tubes, and even death. About the size of a nickel, 20 mm, 3-volt lithium coin cells are the most hazardous as they are big enough to get stuck and burn faster. Secure battery compartments and keep loose batteries away from children.

===Happy Children’s Day to you all===

Dr. Harvey Olufunmilayo is a Nigerian Doctor who resides in England

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