Poison Control warns about dangers of lithium batteries during holidays

Published: Dec. 11, 2016 at 3:08 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:12 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson's local Poison Control Center typically sees an increase in accidental poisoning during the holiday season. Doctors say many toys now come with small lithium batteries.

The batteries are very powerful and if a child swallows one it can start burning their throat within minutes.

"The current actually gets picked back up when it sitting against the tissue inside of our body. It can actually burn a hole right through the esophagus or intestines and children have actually died as a result of that," Dr. Keith Boesem, Director of Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center said.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow button batteries every year in the U.S.

Dr. Boesem said you'll want to keep a close eye out for them if you child receives an electronic present this year.

Dr. Boesem said as you host family for the holidays, don't leave alcohol on the coffee table where a child could reach it, as they could get sick. If your relatives are staying with you from out of town they may bring their medication and leave the pills out on the nightstand which could be another potential danger.

"A lot of the things inside the house we've been able to make safer over the years but medications is still one of them that there's some pretty dangerous stuff. Even one or two pills can be actually deadly for a child," Boesem said.

If someone you know becomes exposed to a potential hazard, the Poison Control call center is available 24 hours a day. Call 1-800-222-1222.

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