As the holiday season approaches, don’t forget about the potential hazard lithium-ion batteries pose to children. In the United States, emergency rooms treat more than 2,800 children each year who have swallowed the small button batteries found in devices like electronic toys, remote controls, key fobs, and musical greeting cards. Even more alarming, lithium-ion batteries can catch fire or explode, creating a serious risk of burns and other injuries.
In this article, you’ll learn five simple ways you can protect your children from dangerous and defective lithium-ion batteries and find out what you should do if your child has been injured.
1. Keep Spare Batteries and Battery-Powered Devices Out of Reach
Search your home for any devices that use small button-style lithium batteries. Pay attention especially to toys and colorful items that might attract children, like flashing jewelry, holiday decorations, and flameless candles. Keep these devices out reach of children and supervise their use.
You’ll also want to keep e-cigarettes away from children. E-cigarettes can look like toys to kids, and the lithium-ion batteries in these devices can create serious fire and explosion hazards that are especially dangerous for children.
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Lock away any loose or spare batteries to keep them out of reach of children. This includes extra e-cigarette batteries that you might carry in your coat pocket or bag. For devices that contain a battery, place a piece of duct tape over the battery compartment cover to keep the battery from falling out if the cover fails.
2. Check for a UL Label
Some lithium-ion batteries and electronic devices are safer than others. When you’re purchasing a battery or battery-powered device, look for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification. UL is an independent safety science organization that sets safety standards for manufacturers of electronic devices and assesses compliance.
If a toy or device is UL-certified, you should see a label with the UL logo on its packaging. This label suggests that the product meets UL’s strict safety standards and poses less of an injury risk compared to a non-certified alternative. However, the UL label doesn’t make a product accident-proof. You’ll still need to exercise caution when using lithium-ion batteries and the devices they power.
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Unfortunately, some dishonest companies put fake UL labels on their devices. If you’re unsure about the validity of a UL certification, you can check UL’s website and look up the product in question.
3. Research Toys Before Buying
You should always do research before purchasing a toy powered by a lithium-ion battery. Look for safety concerns in consumer reviews as well as any product recalls involving the toy. One helpful source for safety research is the Annual Toy Safety Report from the U.S. Public Interest Resource Group.
Product recall information and other online reports can help avert a potential disaster in your home. For example, hoverboards became subject to a series of massive recalls between 2015 and 2017. These products were wildly popular with children, but they had the potential to overheat and cause fires and explosions. Even before the recalls, consumers went online to write reports of fires and explosions that occurred while their children used hoverboards or while the hoverboards were on the charger. Unfortunately, not enough parents knew about or heeded these reports, and between December 1, 2015 and February 17, 2016, hoverboard explosions caused 52 fires and roughly $2 million in property damage.
If you discover a product recall, follow its directions immediately and completely. And if you or your child suffer injuries from a defective or dangerous toy or electronic device, seek medical treatment and contact an experienced personal injury and product defect lawyer for help.
4. Seek Immediate Medical Care for Lithium-Ion Battery Injuries
When a child ingests a lithium-ion battery or suffers burns due to an explosion or fire, you must take immediate action. Call 911 and get the child to an emergency room for medical treatment. If your child swallows a lithium-ion battery, do not induce vomiting or let them eat or drink anything.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode?
Batteries contain a variety of toxic compounds, and a swallowed battery can cause serious damage to tissues and internal organs. The health complications from battery ingestion can lead to excruciating pain, multiple surgeries, and lifelong health problems. However, the complications of battery ingestion may not create visible symptoms immediately, which is why it’s so important to go to the hospital right away if you even suspect your child ingested a battery. Keep the National Battery Ingestion Hotline in your phone (800-498-8666) in case you ever need to call for help.
If your child suffers burns during a lithium-ion battery fire or explosion, they could have both chemical and thermal burns. Once the fire is extinguished, you can flush the burn with cool water to alleviate pain, but your child should receive an evaluation and care from a medical professional as soon as possible. Make sure you tell emergency personnel and doctors that a lithium-ion battery caused the burns.
5. Don’t Throw Away Dangerous or Defective Lithium-Ion Batteries After an Injury
After an explosion or fire, it’s tempting to throw away the dangerous or defective product. After all, the last thing you want is a hazardous object hanging around your home. However, you should never discard a defective product that’s caused injuries since it can provide critical evidence to support a potential product liability claim.
To successfully file a claim and hold the negligent parties who injured you or a loved one accountable, you’ll need to prove that the battery or device that caused the injury was improperly manufactured or designed. This will require support from experts who examine the device, your medical records, and other sources of evidence. If you throw out the battery or device, it will be impossible to prove your claim.
However, there’s no need to store the dangerous product at home and create additional stress: when you work with Phelan Petty, we’ll safely store the defective device or battery for you.
Phelan Petty Works With Victims in Virginia to Demand Compensation for Lithium-Ion Battery Injuries
At Phelan Petty, we fight for justice and compensation on behalf of victims who have suffered lithium-ion battery injuries. We consult with world-class experts and never hesitate to stand up to big corporations and their insurance companies on behalf of our clients.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries due to a lithium-ion battery fire or explosion, schedule a free case assessment with one of our product liability attorneys today by completing our online contact form or calling 866-249-3164.
Batteries. (n.d.). Safe Kids Worldwide. Retrieved from https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/batteries
Battery safety tips. (n.d.). Safe Kids Worldwide. Retrieved from https://www.safekids.org/tip/battery-safety-tips
Sears, Andrea (2017, November 22). Report Says Some Toys a Risk to Children. Public News Service. Retrieved from https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2017-11-22/consumer-issues/report-says-some-toys-a-risk-to-children/a60399-1
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.