Button Battery Safety

Every year 3,500 people in the United States swallow “disc” or “button batteries.” Larger batteries are more dangerous, especially those larger than 20 mm. This includes batteries with these serial numbers: CR2032, CR2025 or CR2016.

Swallowing is especially dangerous for young children as these batteries may get stuck in the throat and esophagus. The battery creates an electrical current and a chemical burn. Burns happen even if the battery is not “leaking” or damaged. Burns can occur as soon as two hours after swallowing.

Battery Hotline: 202.625.3333   |  Poison control: 1.800.222.1222

How to Help Your Child

If your child has swallowed a battery, follow the protocol below.

  1. Go to an emergency room immediately. An x-ray may be ordered.
  2. Do not try to make your child vomit. Do not allow them to eat or drink.
  3. Do not use ear drops. Watch for pain or discharge.

Watch for the following:

  • Fever
  • Belly pain
  • Wheezing
  • Drooling
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Gagging
  • Choking

Prevention Tips

  •  Do not insert or change batteries in front of small children
  • Do not store near food (especially finger foods), medicine or pill containers
  • Always recycle batteries or wrap securely and throw away
Keep products with button batteries out of reach of your children. These include:
  • Remote controls
  • Handheld video games
  • Keychains
  • Garage door openers
  • Flashing jewelry
  • Toothbrushes
  • Bathroom scales
  • Pen lights
  • Watches
  • Cameras
  • Digital thermometers
  • Hearing aids
  • Singing greeting cards
  • Cell phones


Batteries sometimes are removed in the operating room if the child is younger than 6 or if the battery has been in their body for more than four days

Your doctor may say it is okay to wait until the battery is passed in the stool. Medications to soften the stool or cause increased bowel movements are not necessary.

Useful links from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: