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Infant airlifted after swallowing “button” battery

Parents are being warned of the dangers of button batteries ahead of Christmas after RACQ CareFlight Rescue airlifted a baby boy who swallowed one on the Sunshine Coast on Monday.

The nine month old swallowed the object at around 1.40pm and was taken to Nambour General Hospital.

Shortly after 3pm, he was airlifted to the Royal Children’s Hospital by RACQ CareFlight Rescue to undergo further treatment.

He travelled in a stable condition, his mother by his side.

It’s prompted a warning on the dangers of the tiny toxic objects.

“Button batteries can lodge in the oesophagus of infants and cause serious injury or even death if they go undetected,” CareFlight’s Chief Medical Officer Doctor Allan MacKillop said.

A four year old Sunshine Coast girl died in July after swallowing one of the small batteries which are used in toys, games and many household items such as torches, car keys, TV remotes, watches and calculators.

“If they become stuck in the oesophagus they can immediately begin to burn, doing serious damage,” Dr MacKillop said.

“Even if you only suspect the child has swallowed the battery, you should immediately take them to your GP or a hospital emergency ward.

“Early diagnosis is the key,” he said.

Symptoms include: gagging, vomiting or spitting, abdominal pain and persistent drooling.

Each week four children are taken to emergency departments across Australia after swallowing the tiny batteries.

With Christmas just six weeks away, parents are being urged to be cautious, keeping the batteries out of reach and ensuring the backs of toys and other household items that use any type of battery are securely taped up from prying little fingers.

The elderly are also urged not to store the batteries in pill containers as the small objects can easily be mistaken for medication.

For media enquiries please call the RACQ CareFlight Rescue 24/7 media number on 0448 844 197.