Safety and first aid

Button batteries

hand holding a button battery
Button batteries are found in many common household items

Button batteries are small disc-shaped batteries containing lithium, zinc silver, or manganese.

They can cause serious burns if swallowed. They are also a choking hazard for young children.

These button batteries are found in common household items including:

  • toys
  • calculators
  • cameras
  • musical greeting cards
  • small electronic devices
  • hearing aids
  • watches.

The size and appearance of the batteries makes them appealing to small children. They may swallow them or push them up their nostrils or into their ears.

If they lodge in the nostrils or gullet (oesophagus), they can cause serious burns to the surrounding tissue. This can be life-threatening.

Button batteries are also a serious choking hazard.

What to do if your child swallows a battery?

If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, seek medical attention immediately.

Where battery ingestion is suspected:

  • Check and clear the airways.
  • Phone the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
  • Seek immediate medical help.
  • Do not give food or drink.
  • Do not induce vomiting.

Protecting your child

Parents can help protect their children from these batteries by:

  • ensuring new batteries are secured well out of reach of young children
  • disposing of old batteries safely
  • ensuring devices have secure battery compartments
  • supervising children when playing with battery-operated devices
  • regularly scanning floors, tables and counters for loose button batteries.

Where to get help

  • Always dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance in a medical emergency.
  • Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day) if you suspect a battery has been swallowed.


  • Button batteries, also known as disc batteries, are a serious burn and choking hazard for young children.
  • If they are swallowed and remain in the body they may burn through surrounding tissue.
  • If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, seek medical attention immediately. Phone the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (local call rates from land line only).

WA Poisons Information Centre

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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