Toddler Swallowed Small Battery That 'Burned Hole' Through Throat

Warning As Small Battery 'Burned Hole' In Toddler's Throat

A toddler now has to be fed through a tube after he swallowed a tiny battery that burned a hole through his throat.

Two-year-old Logan Stiff from Colorado consumed the button battery - which came from a remote control - while at nursery.

When his parents Jackie, 38, and Andrew Stiff, 34, picked him up from nursery a few hours later, the toddler was vomiting as the battery had burned a hole in his oesophagus.

"We had no idea how dangerous these batteries could be, nor did most of our friends and family," said Mr Stiff.

"It was a shocking realisation and we wanted to make sure everyone we knew could learn about this too."

Logan Stiff in hospital after swallowing a battery

Logan was just one year and five months old when he swallowed the battery.

No one witnessed him ingest it, but it is believed a sound bar remote was accidentally knocked off a table, popping open the screw-on back that had appeared to be secure.

Although he was being sick when his parents picked him up, they assumed he had caught a bug from another child.

However, within an hour he was lethargic and struggling to breathe, so his parents rushed him to Children's Colorado Hospital – where doctors spotted the battery on an x-ray.

The hospital explained lithium batteries react with saliva – creating an electrical current that causes a build-up of caustic soda, which can then burn through the oesophagus and other major blood vessels.

In Logan's case the caustic soda burned a hole in his oesophagus and he was rushed to intensive care after having an operation to remove the battery.

The toddler, who spent a total of 21 days in hospital, was fitted with a breathing tube, feeding tube and spit fistula (surgically made passage) but struggled to breathe on his own, so doctors contemplated a tracheotomy - an incision in the windpipe made to relieve an obstruction to breathing.

After another operation to separate his oesophagus from his trachea, Logan began to breathe independently.

Logan underwent more surgery in September 2015 to reconnect his oesophagus and he now must have it stretched back open regularly with an inflating balloon, to prevent it closing up over time.

The toddler is now able to eat and drink, but is still fed primarily through a feeding tube and has some loss of functionality in one of his vocal cords.

"When we saw Logan in intensive care that was the first time we really understood what had happened to our son – the damage and the long road ahead of us in the healing process," said Mr Stiff.

"Most people would know to keep other obvious things away from children – chemicals and medicines – but button batteries don't cross their minds.

"We are very happy to see Logan recovering so well and just being a happy kid again.

"We always believed he would get better, but the lowest point was when he failed to breathe on his own.

"Now he can speak just fine and if you watched him run around you'd never know anything was wrong with him.

"He is a fighter – he is resilient and will continue to thrive."

Logan is now primarily fed through a tube

Logan's parents are determined to raise awareness to prevent further tragedies.

Mr Stiff said: "We feel very lucky as there have been children who have died from swallowing button batteries when they caused a burn to an artery.

"Our main advice is to be aware of everything that uses these batteries.

"It's impossible to watch a child every second of the day and things can happen quickly.

"The most important thing is to share the information and let any friends or family who have newborns or will be parents soon know."

The UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is concerned by the dangers posed by button batteries, which have caused deaths in Britain.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA's public health advisor, said: "Young children are naturally inquisitive and explore the world in part by putting things in their mouths.

"As more and more electronic items are introduced into the family home, the potential for children to swallow button batteries increases, and this can lead to choking or poisoning.

"We want parents, grandparents, childminders and carers to be aware of the danger and understand that these seemingly harmless little batteries can cause serious injury to children."

The RoSPA advises parents to make sure products that use button batteries have lockable battery compartments, spare batteries are locked away and spent ones disposed of correctly. They also urge parents to seek medical advice immediately if they believe their child has swallowed a battery.

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