News

Lithium battery warning: ‘Treat them like poison’

A GYMPIE district boy has survived suspected lithium battery poisoning, after being airlifted to Brisbane for emergency treatment, a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday.

The boy, 4, was flown out of Gympie Hospital, his mother by his side, on Monday night, after possibly swallowing a lithium button battery.

He was taken to Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, where a spokesman said the batteries were capable of causing life-threatening internal injuries, if swallowed.

A Tewantin girl, also four, died almost two years ago in Noosa Hospital after a similar incident.

The Gympie Times reported at the time that doctors had been unable to save the girl, who had suffered severe stomach bleeding.

Gympie Regional Council health portfolio councillor and Gympie ambulance chief Wayne Sachs says batteries need to be treated like poison
Gympie Regional Council health portfolio councillor and Gympie ambulance chief Wayne Sachs says batteries need to be treated like poison Renee Pilcher

"PARENTS need to treat them like any other household poison and keep them well out of reach of children," he said.

Potentially fatal damage can begin within an hour.

They are only the size of lollies, Cr Sachs said yesterday.

"People need to be careful, especially if they notice a battery is missing from a device.

"They are very dangerous, some are easily swallowed and they can be fatal.

"Parents need to take all the same precautions that they would with any poison and keep them well out of reach of children."

A spokeswoman at Lady Cilento yesterday said the Gympie boy was now in a stable condition and was recovering.

New Zealand authorities issued a warning in 2013, soon after the Noosa Hospital tragedy, that parents did not have the luxury of simply waiting for the battery to pass, "because it's a two-hour timeframe before it actually starts to cause damage."

They said that at that time, about 20 children suffered serious internal damage every year as a result of battery ingestion.

In the US, authorities warned of electrical and chemical burns.

"If caught in the throat, the batteries send an electrical current through the tissue, eventually burning a hole in the trachea or oesophagus," according to a medical warning in the US Journal of Paediatrics.

The batteries, which are often also contained in car keys and even greeting cards, pose what has been called an invisible threat, with many parents saying they have not heard of any warnings.

American experience indicates most cases involve batteries out of remote control devices. In June 2003, four year old Tewantin girl Summer Steer died from stomach bleeding after swallowing a battery that morning.

The Gympie Times reported at the time that the batteries can be difficult to detect on an x-ray because they look like a button. It was important for parents to let doctors know that the child may have swallowed a battery.

Susan Teerds from Kidsafe Queensland said at the time of Summer Steer's death that saliva would start a chemical reaction that would burn a hole in flesh, even through to vital parts like the aorta or the spine.

Toys usually had safeguards to prevent batteries from falling out, but TV remotes and car keys were less likely to have these safeguards.

Battery poisoning

  • Effect: Ingestion can cause electrical or chemical burns in the throat, which sometimes prove fatal
  • Need for speed: Damage, potentially fatal, begins within two hours
  • First aid: Contact Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26, do not let child eat or drink, do not induce vomiting
Gympie Times

Topics:  child safety, gympie hospital




'Better' experience for Capelli Foods catering

Cappelli Foods' Jett Vogels (left) and Michael Hehir took a moment amidst a busy schedule to catch up with Better Homes and Gardens host Johanna Griggs (centre) at their recent shoot in Maroochydore.

Capelli Foods catered to the crew of Better Homes and Gardens

WHAT'S ON: Things to do this weekend around Gympie

The perfect day for anyone who is obsessed with Dinosaurs. A realistic interactive T-Rex will be there to meet! Plus lots more fun!

Dinosaurs, motocross, live music and markets

Who's meeting where around the Gympie region

NOW HEAR THIS: What's on around Gympie region over the next few days.

What's on around Gympie region

Latest deals and offers

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

Joe Jonas' 'tough' pals

Joe Jonas' pals are 'tough' with his potential partners

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

Is Gympie having a building boom?

There is plenty of building activity happening around the Gympie region.

New home approvals for Gympie region double

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley