Picture of seven small button cell batteries.

Button cell batteries can damage your health if swallowed.

Button cell batteries

Button cell batteries are small, round, flat batteries that can be found in, for example, greeting cards with audio features, flashing toys, watches and fever thermometers. Many button cell batteries are so small that a child can easily swallow them, which can be very dangerous.

If the battery gets stuck in the oesophagus or further down the gastrointestinal tract, an electrical circuit can form, which can cause severe injury to the mucous membranes. Sucking or licking a broken battery is not as dangerous as swallowing it, but it can feel uncomfortable.

Therefore, keep in mind that:

  • Toys adapted for the child’s age are generally safer for the child to play with than other items that contain batteries.
  • Check that the battery cover is intact and is securely attached to whatever holds the batteries.
  • Store batteries out of reach and sight of children.
  • Bring used batteries back for battery recycling; even used batteries can cause injury if a child swallows them.

Read more about the risks of button cell batteries at the European Commission websiteexternal link

In case of an accident

If a child has swallowed a battery or stuck it in his or her nose, eye or ear, it is important to seek help quickly. Therefore, call 112 immediately and request Poisons Information (Giftinformation). Do not try to make the child vomit.

More information can be found on the Swedish Poisons Information Centre’s website.external link

Last published 15 February 2021