MONDAY, Aug. 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Pediatric emergency department visit rates related to batteries, particularly button batteries, increased from 2010 to 2017, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in Pediatrics.

Mark D. Chandler, M.P.H., from Safe Kids Worldwide in Silver Spring, Maryland, and colleagues describe the epidemiology of battery-related emergency department visits among children aged younger than 18 years in the United States from 2010 to 2019 using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

The researchers identified an estimated 70,322 battery-related emergency department visits among children younger than 18 years during the study period (9.5 per 100,000 annually), with a mean patient age of 3.2 years. In 84.7 percent of visits where battery type was described, button batteries were implicated. From 2010 to 2017, there was a statistically significant increase in the emergency department visit rate, followed by a nonsignificant decline from 2017 to 2019. Children aged 5 years and younger had the highest emergency department visit rate compared with those aged 6 to 17 years (24.5 and 2.2 per 100,000 children, respectively). Ingestions accounted for 90.0 percent of emergency department visits, followed by nasal insertions, ear insertions, and mouth exposures (5.7, 2.5, and 1.8 percent, respectively).

“Prevention efforts have not significantly reduced injury rates; therefore, regulatory efforts are needed,” the authors write. “Ultimately, hazard reduction or elimination through safer button battery design is critical and should be adopted by the battery industry.”

One author has a patent-pending coin/battery metal detector device under development and currently receives royalties for a patented, commercially available medical device.

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