Toddlers are notorious for sticking random objects in their mouths, but usually germs are the worst of parents' worries. Except that's not the case for one Connecticut family. Their toddler swallowed a battery that burned his esophagus, and now the family is warning other parents about the serious safety hazards.
Back in December, their son, Cameron, was playing with his toys, when mom Marisa Soto realized that he wasn't acting himself. He refused food and then foamed at the mouth and vomited, according to WQAD News. Soto asked for an X-ray, and doctors discovered a button battery in his esophagus. Cameron was rushed to Connecticut Children's Medical Center where doctors removed the battery, but it had already done a lot of damage.
"He looked okay kind of, you could tell he was in discomfort and something was wrong but it look like he probably had a sore throat," she reportedly said, according to WQAD News.
While Cameron didn't choke, the battery did get stuck. And its reaction with his saliva in the digestive system caused a lot of damage by burning his esophagus, according to The Daily Mail. The burn reportedly resulted in swelling from the bottom of his brain to the top of his heart.
Batteries actually make the list of the top items on which kids choke — two studies in Pediatrics call them major choking risks. Small lithium cell batteries (button batteries) are found in a variety of small household devices like alarm clocks and many children's toys, and more than 40,000 children under the age of 13 (with 72 percent being 4 years old or younger), went to the ER for battery-related injuries between 1997 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even dead batteries can cause harm because of the actual electrical current. Dr. Jennifer Lightdale, a pediatric gastroenterologist, wrote for the American Academy of Pediatrics Voices: "The electrical current of the battery quickly begins to burn through to other nearby important structures in the chest, such as the aorta or the trachea."
But batteries aren't the only items for which parents need to look out. Kids stick random things in random places all the time. They eat paper, grass, LEGOs, bugs, all sorts of things. And parents can become overstressed about all the objects their kids can choke on — especially because a child's windpipe is about the size of a drinking's straw diameter, according to the New York State's Department of Health. Choking is therefore a leading cause of injury among children and can be fatal, especially in children 4 years of age or younger, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians. In fact, the New York State's Department of Health reports that at least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the U.S., and more than 12,000 children are taken to the emergency room each year for food-choking injuries.
Cameron was intubated for two and a half months and, over that time, he lost the ability to eat, talk, crawl, and walk—all of which he had to relearn the Daily Mail reported.
"Every day, morning and night, would pray with our other two kids," Soto reportedly told Fox61. "Whenever we would get bad news, got good news, it was just keeping the faith and not giving up."
Now, Soto is sharing their story to raise awareness because, if she'd known the series dangers of those batteries, she told The Daily Mail she'd never have kept toys that use them in her house at all.