Button Batteries

​Button batteries are the small, round batteries you find in toys and everyday objects like watches, remote controls and car key fobs.

Button batteries can be extremely dangerous if swallowed.

There are lots of different sizes and types of button batteries. Lithium button batteries are most dangerous as they are larger and more powerful. If they get stuck in a child’s throat, they can cause serious internal burns or even death within hours of being swallowed.

Trigger warning: This video contains an emotionally challenging story which some people may find upsetting.

Why are button batteries dangerous?

Most button batteries pass through the body without a problem. If a button battery gets stuck in the throat or digestive system, energy from the battery can react and cause internal burns.

They can burn a hole through the throat and can lead to serious internal bleeding and death. The reaction can happen in as little as 2 hours.

Top tips for keeping children safe
  • Look round your home for lithium button batteries in products, as well as spare and flat batteries.
  • Keep products well out of children’s reach if the battery compartment isn’t secured.
  • Store spare button batteries in a sealed container in a high cupboard.
  • Remember that flat or dead batteries still hold enough power to badly hurt a child. So put them out of children’s reach straight away and recycle them safely and as quickly as possible.
  • Take care when buying toys from markets, discount stores or temporary shops as they may not meet safety regulations. Toys bought online or from other countries may also not meet UK safety standards. Visit our page on toy safety for more information.
  • Teach older children that button batteries are dangerous and not to play with them or give them to younger brothers and sisters.
Do you think your child has swallowed a button battery?
  • Don’t delay.
  • Take them to Accident and Emergency straight away or call 999 for an ambulance.
  • Don’t let them eat or drink and don’t make them sick.
  • They may need an operation to remove it.
Further information

Visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust website to read more about the dangers posed by button batteries.

Visit RoSPA for more information on button battery safety.

Visit our page on swallowed an object for more information.