A Melbourne mum has stepped up her mission to warn other parents about the lethal dangers of button batteries after her little girl almost died earlier this year.
Shaylah Carmichael, 5, was placed in an induced coma after undergoing emergency surgery in April to remove a coin-sized television remote battery that had been blocking her throat for six months.
It took months of countless hospital and doctor visits on top of unexplained illnesses and sudden weight loss for doctors to finally spot the horrifying hazard on an X-ray.
Youngster Shaylah Carmichael (pictured) was in an induced coma earlier this year after a button battery eroded her oesophagus. The little girl is still recovering from the ordeal
‘Another 24 hours and she wouldn’t have been here,’ her mum Kirra told Nine News.
‘Our jaws dropped. They told us it had eroded her oesophagus and that she had a serious fight ahead.’
Ms Carmichael has reiterated her dire warning to parents about button battery products and toys in the lead up to Christmas.
The dangerous items are now banned from her home.
‘Just don’t buy button battery products,’ Ms Carmichael warned.
Eight months on, young Shaylah is still recovering from the frightening ordeal.
Kirra Carmichael is desperate to spread the word about the dangers of button batteries
‘I just can’t believe our little girl is still alive. Some kids aren’t so lucky,’ Ms Carmichael said in a Facebook post at the time.
Since 2013, two young children have died in Australia from ingesting button batteries.
A coroner ruled earlier this year that medical staff provided ‘reasonable care’ to a baby who died in Melbourne after swallowing a button battery that went undetected for three hospital visits.
One-year-old Isabella Rees died in 2015 after doctors sent the small girl home three times, believing her vomiting and fever was due to an infection.
She died after 19 days of ill-health, which included symptoms of vomiting, fever and black faeces.
The battery (right) blocked Shaylah’s throat for six month before it was picked up on an X-ray
Shaylah is among 17 children in the last two years who have suffered serious internal injuries.
Button batteries, also known as coin cell batteries are common items found in children’s toys, hearing aids, lights, watches, remote controls, digital thermometers and bathroom scales.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently developed a specific taskforce to look at improving the safety of button batteries and consumer products that contain them.
‘If a child swallows a button battery it can get stuck in their oesophagus or elsewhere in their system, causing death or serious illness,’ ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
‘Button batteries burn through soft tissue in as little as two hours and continue to pose a severe injury risk for children. It can be hard for doctors to identify the symptoms of battery button ingestion if the parent isn’t aware the child has swallowed one.’
Melbourne youngster Shaylah (pictured with her mum) is among 17 Australian children in the last two years who have suffered serious internal injuries from ingesting a button battery
The taskforce was established after It came after then federal assistant treasurer Stuart Robert issued a safety warning notice about the dangers of button batteries.
‘If swallowed, in addition to presenting a choking hazard, a button battery can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue causing catastrophic bleeding. Serious injury can occur in as little as two hours,’ the notice states.
The federal government was expected to receive the ACCC’s draft recommendations by the end of the year.
Kirra Carmichael and her husband (pictured) banned button battery products from their home after their little girl almost died earlier this year
Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath also issued a warning about button batteries this week ahead of the festive season.
Her department recently pulled a number of dangerous toys from shelves due to being potential hazards.
‘If buying a gift for a small child, check for any loose parts. Anything smaller than a 20 cent piece poses a choking risk,’ Mrs D’Ath said.
‘Parents should also check that toys with button batteries have a battery compartment that is child resistant and secure.
‘Button batteries can cause severe internal injuries, even fatal injuries if swallowed.’
Warning about button batteries
*Only buy batteries that come in child resistant packaging and store securely.
*If buying button battery devices, look for ones where the battery compartment requires a tool or dual simultaneous movement to open.
*Keep button batteries products out of sight and reach of small children.
*Make sure a child cannot gain access to button batteries inside devices
*Dispose of old or spent button batteries you have removed from a product immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous.
*If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.