Swallowing An “AAA” Battery

iain almost standingI got a 5am call this morning (I’m in Flint, Michigan again) from my wife: our 12 month old son may have swallowed an AAA battery. He was playing with a remote that took 3 AAA batteries, when she noticed the battery cover was off. She took the remote from him but she could only find 2 batteries. It’s an old remote, so there may have been only 2 in it, and she looked everywhere for the 3rd but couldn’t find it. So, 1) He swallowed the 3rd battery; 2) The 3rd battery fell out and hasn’t been found; 3) There is no 3rd battery.

batteriesMy initial thought was there is no way he could’ve swallowed one. He would’ve gagged because it’s so long (she was near him the whole time), and I doubt his small throat could even get it down. I googled swallow aaa battery and didn’t find anything helpful. He isn’t showing symptoms that anything is wrong; no choking, no vomiting, no crying… he’s acting normal.

In any case, he’s being taken to the hospital, just in case.

It’s hard not to feel guilty about these type of incidents. You ensure your house is baby-proof, keeping small objects off the floor; electrical outlets are blocked; stairs have gates; cupboards are locked. You’d give your own life for your child’s. But shit happens.

I’ll post updates as comments.

28 Replies to “Swallowing An “AAA” Battery”


  1. Are you sure the remote takes 3 batteries? All my remotes take an even number of batteries. 3 seems like an odd number.

  2. I remember when I was 3 or 4 I swallowed a penny. I ran into the kitchen an told my mom “I ate the money.” In Greek, this is an expression used when you “spent the money.” When they realized that I did swallow a penny, they took me to the hospital and X-rays showed that I swallowed a penny. Doctor said I would shit it out and everything would be ok.

  3. Why would they take an x-ray if everything would be cool either way?

    I once got a pencil erasor stuck up my nose for 3 days. Eventually I got it out after a LOT of work. Man, it sucked. I only did it maybe 3 times then learned my lesson.. kinda..

  4. I use a Q-tip to clean my ears. I KNOW, you shouldn’t. During university I bought a cheap non-Q-tip brand and the cotton tip got stuck in my ear. I had to go to a doctor to have it removed. This happened three times. Within 2 weeks. I’m slow, but I learned my lesson: only using the original Q-tip brand!

  5. Why would they take an x-ray if everything would be cool either way?

    Not sure. Maybe to ensure that it was only a penny and not a pocket knife or something like that.

    I use a Q-tip to clean my ears.

    You should never, ever use the cheap ones. I think my mother-in-law buys hers from Value Village. They totally suck ass. The Q-tip brand is the best. They are very relaxing and they get rid of itches in your ear.

  6. I thought my daughter had swallowed a stone a little while back. When she was sitting in her car seat, I noticed she had something in her hand and when I went to take it away, she quickly moved her hand to her mouth and the stone disappeared. I looked around and couldn’t find it.

    When I called the pediatrician, they said “what goes down will usually come out” and relegated me to “stool watch” for the next 24 hours. When I was trying to get the puke smell out of my car (ah the joys of parenting), I found the stone under the car seat.

  7. My 18 month daughter swallowed a penny on Sat Mar 25 about 1:15 pm We took her to the hospital and the had X-rays done. The penny was stuck in her esophogus a few mm from her sphincter and stomac. So we were transferred by ambulance (spent waiting 4 hours for ambulance) to a children’s hospital becouse the hospital we were at did not have any way to remove the penny on the weekend. Once we arrived at the children’s hospital they admitted my daughter, took more X-rays and verified the Penny hadn’t moved. It was know around 10PM She had not ate or drank anything becouse the Doctor was worried fluid or food may bring come back up and she could choke on it. Or the Penny, if it came up with the food. Around 11pm they decided that they will operate in the morning and go in to take it out. They also said that my daughter could drink fluids until Midnight. Well they put an IV in her, this upset her and she didn’t end up falling asleep until about 1 am. My wife stayed in the room with her and I found a place to sleep in a waiting room. (only one parent with the child and we were about an hour away) about 0400 they woke her up and did another X-ray. (penny had not moved) In the Morning they put a sedative in her IV and took her to the Operating room. There they put her out completely and pulled the penny out. It took about 15 minutes. After the operation She was just wakeing up when the doctor came and got us. It so sad to see your little one look so upset. I felt helpless. The doctor gave us the penny it had turned white and was decroded like old battery terminals from the stomac acids (amazing how strong the acid in the stomac is) I’m going to put it in her baby book along with the X-ray. We left the hospital about 1130 am and made it home about 1230 pm. So the whole incedent took us 24hours and a very long night for all of us. Moral of the story……Kids don’t always just crap them out. Take the kids to (especially the little ones) to the doctor to get it checked out. Thanks for reading this and good luck. Don’t mind the spelling errors.


  9. Stick a screw-driver in your ear and push the Q-tip FARTHER down your ear canel. Eventually it should reach the Eustachian tube, which connects to your pharynx. Once there, your saliva will dissolve the cotton in about 20 years. Maybe.

    Note: I am not a doctor. Really.

  10. I wouldn’t have thought that a small child swallowing a small battery would cause a problem, but this site seems to suggest that it can.

  11. My 9 year old was watching tv and decided to dismantle the remote and eat 2 aaa batteries. I’m loading the dishwasher. She walks into the kitchen, “mom, i cant change the channel.” “why cant you change the channel?” “uhhhhhhh I swallowed the batteries.” She has some medical issues and is developmentally delayed (not so delayed that she doesn’t know better). They decided to scope her and remove them and found a large ulcer that they cannot decide if it is chronic, or due to the batteries. At any rate, we were in the hospital for 4 days. It was NOT a pleasant experience.

  12. I’ve just spent the day at the hospital with my 4 year old who swallowed a battery. It was a small lithium battery. Luckily, 2 x-rays show it is moving through her system quickly. Swallowed batteries, even small ones, can cause serious damage.

  13. Strange! My 10 month old was playing with my two older children and they thought she may have swallowed something by the look on her face for just a brief moment, but after a couple of seconds she seemed fine so they assumed it was nothing. Out of mothers curiosity I went to look and see what was around the area she was playing in, and discovered the same thing (AAA batteries) only it was a small bowl of them that my mother keeps around of used batteries. I thought the same thing, they are too big for her to swallow, but anything is possible. Anyway to shorten my story (alittle) I’m not sure what to do at this point. It’s been a couple of days now. Some say if she swallowed it she will pass it or have symptoms? she did have a slight fever for a couple days but she is also teething. I just don’t know? should I take her in for X-ray anyway?

  14. > should I take her in for X-ray anyway?

    I’m no doctor, but YES – it’s your kid! If you’re not sure, do whatever it takes to put you at ease.

  15. Yes your right I will thank you! It’s just that everyone keeps telling me ah no she couldn’t have swallowed a battery, or if she did she’ll pass it, or she would have some kind of symptoms, ect… ect…. but it’s been stressing me out not knowing FOR SURE! Thank you again for your input!!

  16. wow…jody giving medical advice…hey i have this anal cyst I was wondering if you can take a look at….better yet i turned forty mayby you could give me some advice on prostate exams…

    ha ha ha …seriously.. potentially ingested batteries and x rays are probably needed to be stated in the same sentence…

  17. My one year old son swallowed a quater-sized 3 volt (flat and round) after opening the back of an alarm clock I stupidly left him alone with. We rushed to the hospital got an X-ray, and, after 2-hours, the doctor fished it out. His throat was irritated and they have him on Sucralfate (also ‘carafate’) but this seems to be making him dizzy and reducing his appetite. Anyone else have experience with this drug for infants?

  18. My 2yr old daughter told my mother she swallowed a button battery and I took her to the ER. They took and Xray. Turns out the battery didn’t show up on xray so MD believes she didn’t swallow it.
    Batteries are poisonous. They take an Xray to confirm ingestion then they go in to remove it. 1. By endoscope 2. Surgery.
    Once it passes the stomach it may pass in stools. But it can still conduct and cause burns.

  19. Hey I’ve just back from the hospital as i thought my little girl had swallowed an AAA battery. The metal detector went of twice but the x-ray showed nothing. Would an AAA battery show up on a x-ray with a child so small she’s year n half old??

  20. doctor jody I just ate my car battery…it took me all day and it was kinda messy with all the acid…should I have started with my motorcycle battery first…and I am not feeling so well could you give me some advice….

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