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Virtually two years after a report warned that kids had been swallowing batteries at an alarming price, Energizer is releasing a brand new battery designed to alert dad and mom if their baby has swallowed one.

The brand new coin lithium battery options safer packaging, a unhazardous bitter coating to discourage swallowing and “coloration alert expertise” that prompts a blue dye when the battery comes into contact with moisture, like saliva, so dad and mom and caregivers know that medical consideration could possibly be required.

The brand new battery was introduced in a video last week by Energizer and Trista Hamsmith, whose 18-month-old daughter died after swallowing a button battery from a distant management.

Ms. Hamsmith based a nonprofit group centered on kids’s security, efficiently advocated for laws, known as Reese’s Law, that requires a safe compartment of the batteries in merchandise that use them in addition to stronger warning labels on all packaging, and is now working to make the batteries themselves safer.

Ingested coin or button batteries lead to 1000’s of emergency hospital visits annually, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which notes that “the results of a kid swallowing a battery could be rapid, devastating and lethal.”

“A button cell battery can burn by means of a baby’s throat or esophagus in as little as two hours if swallowed,” in accordance with the company.

Safe packaging and bitter coatings for batteries have lengthy existed, however “the huge breakthrough right here is the colour alert expertise, which helps give caretakers that indicator that one thing has occurred,” Jeff Roth, the worldwide class chief for batteries at Energizer, stated in an interview on Wednesday.

“Essentially the most important half about that is getting assist early within the course of,” he stated. “That’s actually what the colour alert expertise permits the household to do.”

Kids who swallow button or coin batteries face extreme dangers as a result of the batteries generate an electrical present after they come into contact with bodily fluids, like saliva. The present can burn by means of physique tissue and result in life-threatening problems and even loss of life.

Reese Hamsmith underwent “numerous surgical procedures and scopes and was intubated beneath sedation for 40 days” earlier than she died in December 2020, according to Reese’s Purpose, the nonprofit group based by her mom.

The National Capital Poison Center in Washington, D.C. advises towards inducing vomiting whether it is suspected {that a} battery was ingested. As an alternative, dad and mom of youngsters at the least a yr outdated ought to give them honey, instantly and whereas on the way in which to the hospital. Honey will coat the battery, delaying burns within the surrounding tissue. Since honey will not be protected for kids youthful than 12 months of age, dad and mom of youthful kids are urged to instantly get an X-ray.

Dr. Scott Rickert, the chief of the pediatric otolaryngology division at Hassenfeld Kids’s Hospital at NYU Langone, stated time is important when a baby swallows a battery.

“It truly is one in every of these items that as quickly because it’s realized {that a} button battery could also be anyplace in a baby’s physique, it turns into an emergency,” he stated, calling it a “time bomb.”

Dr. Rickert stated Energizer’s new battery is an effective first step, and famous that there’s been a “groundswell from pediatric ENT to try to assist change a number of the packaging and making an attempt to make issues safer for these batteries as a result of until the battery design is completely redesigned, there’s still a risk.”

Coin and button batteries are hidden hazards, stated Nancy Cowles, the chief director of Children in Hazard, a nonprofit devoted to enhancing the protection of youngsters’s merchandise.

Kids typically swallow them sight unseen, leaving dad and mom unaware of the medical emergency going down of their house, Ms. Cowles stated, calling the battery’s blue dye alert “the revolutionary factor right here” as a result of it would give dad and mom discover that their baby has ingested one.

Trista Hamsmith stated in an interview on Tuesday that the colour alert may have modified Reese’s story fully as a result of the household had no concept the infant had swallowed a battery when she fell sick in October 2020. Ms. Hamsmith and her household rushed the little woman to the physician, the place they obtained a misdiagnosis of croup as a result of the signs of swallowing a button battery, which embrace drooling, fevers, and problem ingesting or swallowing, “mimics croup virtually to a T,” she stated.

The household took Reese house and observed the distant’s lacking battery. They rushed her to the hospital once more, and “that was the beginning of our nightmare,” Ms. Hamsmith stated. In all, Reese had the battery in her for just a little over 30 hours.

“We had been on the physician inside 4 hours, however we didn’t have a method to know that was in there. We didn’t have a method to let the medical doctors know,” she stated. “So the blue dye, the colour alert expertise, is a recreation changer till we provide you with a unique battery that would be the repair.”

Kirsten Noyes contributed analysis.

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