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Study finds number of battery-related emergency department visits by children more than doubles
Date:5/14/2012

In today's technology-driven world, batteries, especially button batteries, are everywhere. They power countless gadgets and electronic items that we use every day. While they may seem harmless, button batteries can be dangerous if swallowed by children. A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that the annual number of battery-related emergency department visits among children younger than 18 years of age more than doubled over the 20-year study period, jumping from 2,591 emergency department visits in 1990 to 5,525 emergency department visits in 2009. The number of button batteries swallowed by children also doubled during this period.

The study, being released online May 14, 2012 and appearing in the June 2012 print issue of Pediatrics, found that more than three-fourths of battery-related visits to emergency departments by children were among children 5 years-old or younger, with one-year-olds having the greatest number of emergency department visits. Of the cases where the battery's intended use was mentioned, only 29 percent involved batteries that were used for toys and games. The majority of cases involved batteries from products not intended for use by young children, such as watches (14 percent), calculators (12 percent), flashlights (9 percent) and remote controls (6 percent).

"We live in a world designed by adults for the convenience of adults, and the safety of children is often not considered," said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "Products with easily-accessible battery compartments are everywhere in our homes today. By making a few simple design changes and strengthening product manufacturing standards, including products not intended for use by young children, we could prevent many of the serious and sometimes fatal injuries th
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Contact: Erin Pope
Erin.Pope@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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