"Button-cell" batteries hazard for children

FRESNO, Calif.

"It just really changes you. There's no greater loss than the loss of a child." Lonnie and Michelle Truett's youngest son, Aidan, died after he swallowed a tiny battery. "There's no describing the everyday pain."

Consumer reports' Don Mays says tiny lithium "button-cell" batteries like this are found in all kinds of products, like children's toys, clocks, remotes, watches, and even musical greeting cards.

In some products, like a talking children's book, a child cannot get access to the battery.

"Musical books are regulated as toys. So you need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment," Mays said.

But musical greeting cards are different. With many, a child can tear open the card and get to the battery. And with small remotes like this one for an iPod docking station, the battery is also easily accessible.

"These batteries are smaller and easier for a child to swallow. And the injuries can be severe. They can actually burn a hole through a child's esophagus," Mays said.

To demonstrate the danger, consumer reports placed a button-cell battery between two slices of ham.

"After three days, the battery burned the top piece of ham. But it actually burned a hole in the bottom piece of ham," Mays said.

The Truetts don't know where Aidan found the battery he swallowed, but they've removed all button-cell batteries from their home. "There's no sense in keeping them around because your child's life is not worth it."

Be aware, not all musical greeting cards pose a risk. Some come with a secure cover over the battery - a far safer design.

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