Protecting children from dangers is an instinct woven into the very fabric of our DNA – but how can parents protect their little ones from hidden household hazards like accidental Lithium Coin battery consumption? That is a big question we face today.
Often, injuries happen because parents are unaware of the seemingly innocent objects that can cause serious harm to our kids. The digital transformation and increased use of the internet and other devices have exacerbated this, with a spike in the number of children admitted to hospitals after consuming Lithium Coin batteries designed for electronic devices such as TV remotes, car remotes, and kitchen scales.
As any parent knows, children tend to put anything – and everything – in their mouths first. Having spent more time with their kids at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents were forced to juggle work and parental responsibilities.
A recent report from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission demonstrated a 93% increase in battery-related emergency room visits between March and September in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 in children aged between 5-9. This brings up a significant question for parents: what can be done to stop this hazard forever?
Tips to protect your child
If a Lithium Coin cell battery gets stuck in the food pipe, energy from the battery may react with saliva and create caustic soda. This is the same chemical used to clean drains that may cause devastating damage to a child's esophagus and other internal organs within two hours.
Any average household in the UAE will have multiple devices powered by Lithium Coin cells, such as remotes for TV or blinds, key fobs, or thermometers. Unfortunately, they are not always kept out of reach of children. A child, naturally exploring its surroundings, will have easy access to those devices and the Lithium Coin cells powering them. The shiny surface of the battery is more appealing too.
With the increasing choking risks in households, here are some top tips for parents across the region:
It's worth noting that more than 90% of ingestion-related cases registered last year were caused by in-device batteries. Therefore, it's advisable to buy devices with a safety screw for the battery compartment. If your current devices do not have a safety screw, secure the compartment with scotch tape.
While it may seem obvious, storing batteries and sensitive appliances out of sight and reach from your children can also mitigate potential risks and improve the overall safety of the home. Parents must also consider disposing of waste batteries through recycling as children can possibly access garbage containers and kitchen tables.
If an incident happens
Taking immediate action can be the decision between life and death.
· Parents can seek medical attention by dialling 998 for an ambulance
· Administering honey and sucralfate medicine can also reduce oesophageal injury in children
· Another key tip carrying the appliance containing the battery or the original product packaging to the doctors so that they identify the battery type
Innovations in battery safety
While taking steps at home can help in keeping hospitalisation rates down, Duracell has gone one step further to improve child safety through an innovative Baby Secure technology called Bitrex.
Launched with its most popular 2032/2025/2016 (20 = 20mm = diameter of a toddler's oesophagus) Lithium Coin cells Battery products in the Middle East earlier this year, Bitrex has been regarded as the world's bitterest substance by the Guinness World Records that is placed on one side of the lithium coin battery that causes children to spit out the battery product.
With young children being particularly sensitive to bitter tastes, this ground-breaking innovation enables Duracell to help parents across the Middle East protect their children from serious harm and place safety at the forefront of their operations.
Why raising awareness is key
While the issue is not known to many in the Middle East, Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital has been a significant advocate for coin battery ingestion where we have been involved in several campaigns around the world such as The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) summit and a button battery symposium at the World Congress Summit in July 2021.
But plans are in the pipeline to enhance the regional knowledge on this important topic through a recent partnership with Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital and Duracell Middle East. The two organizations recently joined hands to raise awareness among parents and caregivers of young children with supportive initiatives such as educational workshops, on-ground activations, and talks from medical professionals on first aid training.
Taking place on 17 November 2021, the program will help parents learn more about the practical and innovative approaches to reduce the risks of lithium coin cell ingestion and minimise hospitalisations. By collaborative efforts to develop, coordinate, and implement strategies on this important topic, we can ensure that parents spend more time enjoying themselves with their children rather than worrying about them.
About Duracell :
Duracell is one of the world's leading manufacturer of high-performance alkaline batteries, specialty cells and rechargeables. Since its foundation in the early 1940s, the company has become an iconic personal power brand, trusted for compact and longer-lasting batteries. On average 160 Duracell products are sold every second, and Duracell is the number one brand recommended by the world's largest manufacturers. Duracell has a rich history of innovation with many pioneering and successful products, ranging from the first hearing aid cell button to alkaline AA and AAA batteries through to wireless charging technologies and home energy storage.
Duracell is committed to designing, manufacturing, and distributing batteries in a way that minimizes impact to the environment. Our Quality Assurance exceeds the requirement of the ISO 9000 standards, and specifies the highest quality of raw materials, rigorous testing and inspection of performance and energy usage. Investment in quality innovation means Duracell has removed heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead from our products while a range of products have been developed, including ten year storage and PowerCheck™, to help consumers understand their remaining battery life. Duracell has also introduced a complete, sustainable packaging solution, one of the best PVC alternatives available today and is already committed to responsible battery disposable in the UK still following the strict requirements of the EU Battery Directive.
Duracell employs over 3,000 staff around the world and has global regional headquarters in Geneva (Europe & Africa), Singapore (Asia), and Miami, Fl. (LA) and Bethel, Conn. (USA). On 1st March 2016, the company became a permanent part of the Berkshire Hathaway group.
About Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital :
Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital is the first dedicated children's hospital in the United Arab Emirates. The state-of-the-art paediatric medical facility was created under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. Inaugurated on November 1, 2016, Al Jalila Children's is an ultramodern paediatric hospital that aims to be the driving force behind the tertiary and quaternary care facility in the region. Our world-class teams of highly qualified medical experts and paediatricians are setting new standards for paediatric healthcare excellence on a local and regional level.
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