Hazards at home

Children are curious, they explore the world by putting things in their mouths

Lithium or ‘button batteries’ can be fatal

In the UK, children’s toys are covered by safety regulations that require batteries to be in a secure compartment that can’t be easily opened by children. However, there are many unregulated toys bought online and household appliances, containing button batteries, which are not child secure and can prove fatal. This is the case with button batteries, if swallowed they can react with saliva to create caustic soda (the chemical used to unblock drains) and can burn through a child’s food pipe causing internal bleeding and even death. 


If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, take them to your closest A&E department immediately (ill-effects can take place within two hours but can take longer) or call 999

Please be vigilant:

  • Buy toys from a trusted brand
  • Keep batteries, used or unused- well out of a child’s reach
  • Check novelty toys for button batteries, checking packaging for spare batteries
  • Keep all batteries away from children
  • Recycle used batteries as soon as possible

This button battery safety advice is also available here in Bengali. 

Household items that have button batteries

For more information about button batteries, the risks, what to be aware of and a wide range of resources including leaflets, posters and free downloads please visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust website. 

Magnetic toys can be fatal

Magnetic toys if swallowed also pose similar dangers. The tiny colourful magnetic balls in the picture below can be moulded together to make different shapes or sculptures, but if swallowed, can cause serious long term health conditions. If the magnetic balls are swallowed unconnected to each other, the magnetic force will try to connect with others, which can rip holes within the intestine. If you have magnetic toys be vigilant and watch young children and make sure older children are aware of the risks.

UPDATED: 05/06/2021