Child Safety Week: Dad Bravely Speaks About Daughter Who Died After Swallowing Button Battery

'Unfortunately we didn’t see anything wrong, no signs.'

A dad has bravely spoken out to warn parents about the risks button batteries pose to children after his daughter died from swallowing one last year.

To mark Child Safety Week (5-11 June 2017), George Asan, from Hampshire, shared his story in a short film, made with the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), detailing how he lost his two-year-daughter Francesca in May 2016.

Francesca died after a small button battery she swallowed became lodged in her throat and burned through, causing internal bleeding.

“It is very hard for me to talk about losing Francesca,” said Asan.

“I hope that by talking about Francesca’s death it will encourage other families to talk about accidents and ask questions about what they can do to stop them happening to their own children.”

Francesca Asan was two when she died after swallowing a button battery. 
Francesca Asan was two when she died after swallowing a button battery. 

“I feel guilty,” Asan said in the short film. “Unfortunately we didn’t see anything wrong, no signs.

“We found that it was a button battery and straight away I went to the cabinet and we had the 3D glasses for the TV. It was one of the spare batteries, in the original box of the glasses, which was in another box.

“I don’t think in any parent’s mind, this is the first thing they’d look for.”

Parents are encouraged to share the film to raise awareness of the importance of keeping button batteries away from children to prevent other accidents happening.

Advice to parents on button batteries:

1. Store spare button batteries well out of children’s reach and sight.

2. Keep products with button batteries well out of children’s reach if the compartment is not secured with a screw.

3. If you think your child may have swallowed a button battery, don’t delay – take them straight to A&E or dial 999 for an ambulance.

CAPT has warned that it may not always be obvious that a button battery is stuck in a child’s throat.

“There are no specific symptoms associated with this,” the CAPT website states.

“They may appear to have a stomach upset or a virus. Symptoms may include tiredness, loss of appetite, pain and nausea.”

If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, parents are advised to “act fast” and abide by the following guidelines:

  • If you have the battery packaging or the product powered by the battery, take it with you. This will help the doctor identify the type of battery and make treatment easier.

  • Do not let your child eat or drink.

  • Do not make them sick.

  • Trust your instincts and act fast.

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