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ENERG HLDGS : Safe Kids USA and Energizer Join Together to Prevent Button Battery Ingestion

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09/14/2011 | 01:05pm CEST

Today, Safe Kids USA and Energizer announce a critical partnership to share life-saving information with parents and caregivers about the potential risks of swallowing coin lithium batteries. These coin-sized button batteries can lodge in the throats of children. The saliva immediately triggers an electrical current that causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours. In some cases, children have died from their injuries. The formation of "The Battery Controlled" by Safe Kids and Energizer shines a light on a growing issue and provides easy steps that parents and caregivers can take to prevent injuries and death to children.

Where the Risk Hides

Coin-sized button batteries, approximately the size of a nickel, are found in everyday devices such as:

  • Mini remote control devices that unlock car doors and control MP3 speakers
  • Calculators
  • Bathroom scales
  • Reading lights
  • Flameless candles
  • Talking and singing books and greeting cards

A Little-Known Threat

The threat is invisible, as these batteries are often inside compartments within electronic devices. However, because many of these devices are not children's toys, the battery compartments are easy to open. Small children often have easy access to these devices and enjoy playing with them, and many parents do not know there is a risk. In fact, in a recent study by Energizer and Safe Kids USA, 66 percent of parents indicated they have not read, seen or heard anything about the risks of coin-sized button batteries and 58 percent of parents said their children seem to like electronic devices more than their own toys.1

Serious Complications and Deaths Are Increasing

The number of cases where children have been seriously hurt or have died has more than quadrupled in the past five years (2006-2010) compared to the five years prior (2001-2005). In 2010 alone, there were more than 3,400 swallowing cases reported in the U.S., according to Dr. Toby Litovitz, of the National Capital Poison Center, who is an advisor to this effort. Most often, the batteries children swallow have come out of remote control devices.

"Parents and other caregivers often don't realize that coin-sized button batteries are included in devices they buy," said Meri-K Appy, president, Safe Kids USA. "Too often, these devices are left within reach of young children. Car keys with electronic fobs, for example, are often shared with children for their amusement. The batteries inside, if swallowed, can get stuck in a child's throat and cause serious injury and even death."

Even after the battery is removed from the throat, an electrical current can continue that can paralyze vocal chords or form an abnormal connection between the esophagus and trachea (wind pipe). Repairing that damage is painful and can require feeding tubes, breathing tubes and multiple surgeries.

Steps for Parents and Caregivers

  • Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  • Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of sight and out of reach.
  • Go to the emergency room immediately if swallowing is suspected.
  • Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 for additional treatment information.
  • Tell others about this threat and share these steps.

Partnership Details

Through the partnership between Energizer and Safe Kids USA, life-saving information for parents, caregivers, local safety advocates and the medical community will be easily accessible. Tips for prevention and treatment will be distributed through Safe Kids USA's network of 600 coalitions and chapters throughout the U.S.

"As demand grows for smaller, slimmer and sleeker electronic devices, the number of coin lithium batteries to power them grows as well," said Stacey Harbour, director of marketing, Energizer. "We are partnering with Safe Kids USA to help spread the word to parents, grandparents, sitters and caregivers that children are at risk of opening these devices and swallowing the batteries inside. By keeping these batteries and devices away from children, this danger can be averted."

What's Next

Energizer, working with the battery industry, has long supported the National Capital Poison Center's research on issues related to battery ingestion as well as its efforts to guide parents and health professionals caring for children who have swallowed batteries. The company has also reached out to electronics designers and manufacturers to share information on the risks and ways that they can help address this problem. Energizer is developing new packaging for coin-sized button batteries that is harder to open for children and includes improved safety warnings.

Videos, tip sheets and more information can be found at www.thebatterycontrolled.com, www.facebook.com/thebatterycontrolled and www.twitter.com/batterycontrol.

About Safe Kids USA

Safe Kids USA is part of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. More than 600 coalitions and chapters across the U.S. and 19 member countries across the globe bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families. For more information, visit www.safekids.org.

About Energizer

Energizer Holdings, Inc. [NYSE: ENR], headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., is one of the world's largest manufacturers or primary batteries, portable flashlights and lanterns. Energizer is a global leader in the dynamic business of providing power solutions with a full portfolio of products including Energizer® brand battery products Energizer® MAX® premium alkaline; Energizer® Ultimate Lithium; Energizer®Advanced Lithium; Rechargeable batteries and charging systems; and portable flashlights and lanterns. Energizer continues to fulfill its role as a technology innovator by redefining portable power solutions to meet people's active lifestyle needs for today and tomorrow with Energizer® Energi To Go® chargers for rechargeable portable devices; charging systems for wireless video game controllers; and specialty batteries for hearing aids, health and fitness devices, as well as for keyless remote entry systems, toys and watches. Energizer is redefining where energy, technology and freedom meet to bring market consumer-focused products that power the essential devices that help people stay connected and on-the-go at work and at play. Visit www.energizer.com or www.facebook.com/energizer.

About The Battery Controlled Survey

Findings are based on an online survey conducted among a national probability sample of 346 parents of children ages 6 and younger living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this Knowledge Networks Survey was completed during the period September 2 and September 13, 2011. The survey was conducted using Knowledge Networks' KnowledgePanel, a probability-based panel designed to be statistically representative of the U.S. population, selected randomly with a known probability of selection for the statistical confidence required. Those who agree to participate, but are not already on the Internet, are sent a laptop computer and receive an Internet service connection provided and paid for by Knowledge Networks.

1 Findings are based on an online survey conducted among a national probability sample of 346 parents of children ages 6 and younger living in private households in the continental United States from September 2-13, 2011.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6860895&lang=en

The Battery Controlled
Carolyn Chiang, 314-982-8785
[email protected]
Safe Kids USA
Kyle Johnson, 202-662-4463
[email protected]

© Business Wire 2011
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