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Button batteries pose a common hazard for children, but science has discovered an old-school solution

For most new parents, the joy of watching their baby crawl for the first time quickly gives way to frantic baby-proofing to protect the newly mobile baby. In the rush to block off the stairs, lock up the cleaning supplies and cover the electrical sockets, one hazard is easily overlooked: Button batteries like those found in many remotes can be extremely harmful in the hands of curious babies and toddlers.

Sadly this results in some 2,500 children getting hospitalized in the United States each year for ingesting button batteries or lodging them in their noses or ears. While a swallowed coin or peice of Lego poses a choking hazard, these batteries have the added danger of a chemical reaction that can cause potentially fatal damage.

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That's why researchers are excited about a new study that may help parents during an emergency.

According to the CDC, there were 13 fatalities among young children as a result of ingesting button batteries between 2002 and 2010, with several of the deaths occurring after patients were misdiagnosed and released. As the batteries are found in increasingly more household products, more children are getting their hands on them. According to a new study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), there was a 12-fold increase in fatal outcomes due to button batteries in the past decade compared to the decade before.

"Since serious damage can occur within two hours of ingesting a battery, the interval between ingestion and removal is a critical time to act in order to reduce esophageal injury," says co-investigator Ian N. Jacobs, MD, Director of the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders. Not only is this because the batteries can be choking hazards, but the researchers add the batteries react with saliva and "creates a hydroxide-rich, alkaline solution that essentially dissolves tissue."

That's why time is of the essence if parents even suspect a child has ingested or lodged a button battery—so very first order of business should be calling 911 or going to the emergency room. During the interim time before treatment, however, the authors behind the new study found that offering the child honey can help mitigate the effects.

"We explored a variety of common household and medicinal liquid options, and our study showed that honey and sucralfate demonstrated the most protective effects against button battery injury, making the injuries more localized and superficial," says co-author Kris R. Jatana, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist and Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology Quality Improvement at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in a press release. "The findings of our study are going to be put immediately into clinical practice, incorporated into the latest National Capital Poison Center Guidelines for management of button battery ingestions."

Jacobs adds in the press release that offering honey at regular intervals before the child reaches the hospital is "better than doing nothing." (He notes honey should never be given to infants younger than one or to children who may have already perforated their esophagus.)

Although this presents a promising option for parents already in the midst of an emergency, the best approach of all is to identify all items with button batteries while baby-proofing the house. As Jatana recommends, "Parents and caregivers should check all electronic products in the home and make certain that the battery is enclosed in a compartment that requires a tool to open and periodically check to ensure it stays secure over time."

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

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Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

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Detective set

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This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

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Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

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The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

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Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

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Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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