Menu

It's a trend emergency room staff have noticed but parents haven't: The number of kids under six needing medical help for swallowing objects they shouldn't has gone up significantly in the last two decades. Luckily, there's a lot parents can do to keep their kids safe and bring this number back down.

A new study to be published in the journal Pediatrics found that since 1995 the number of children swallowing things like batteries, jewelry and toys has gone from 22,000 in 1995 to 43,000 in 2015.

But there's no need to panic. Most kids (90%) who swallow some random thing are sent home from the ER without needing to be hospitalized. It all depends on what they swallow.

FEATURED VIDEO

Coins are the big one, representing a whopping 62% of such cases, but battery ingestion is on the rise. Batteries only represent about 7% of the things kids end up in the ER for swallowing, but in the last two decades, these incidents have increased by 150% (probably because we have a lot more button batteries around our homes than we did in 1995).

The problem with button batteries

These little tiny batteries are found in all kinds of stuff, like key fobs, remotes, digital thermometers, toys and even those singing birthday cards. They're just the perfect size to swallow and are among the worst things for children because they become caustic when they touch the esophagus and can perforate it or even erode a child's airway.

According to the CDC, there were 13 pediatric deaths as a result of swallowing button batteries between 2002 and 2010. The researchers behind the new study want parents to be aware of this danger (even though it's pretty rare) and to keep button batteries and items that use them out of kids' reach.

What to do if your child swallows a button battery

If your child does swallow one of these batteries, call 911 right away and feed your child some honey immediately. Another recent study published last summer found that honey can reduce serious injuries by neutralizing the pH of the battery, and The National Capital Poison Center updated its guidelines to encourage parents to serve honey on the way to the hospital.

Honey's not a cure, a child who swallows a button battery will still need an endoscopy to get the battery out, but honey can buy more time for medical providers when every second counts.

You might also like:

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners