When baby Emmett became extremely ill, his frightened parents rushed him to the ER. What doctors found in x-rays was shocking and they couldn’t believe this baby swallowed something so dangerous.
Nothing Is Baby-Proof
New parents Karla and Michael Rauch tried to think of every scenario possible when baby-proofing their home. However, they never anticipated that a DVD remote control would bring a future filled with multiple surgeries for their 1-year-old toddler.
What Was It?
Right after Emmett’s first birthday party, he was feverish, lethargic, and cried when fed. Initially, their pediatrician thought it was a cold. However, once Emmett began coughing up blood a few days later, he was taken to the ER. X-rays showed the little toddler had ingested a lithium ion button battery that became lodged in his esophagus.
How Did He Get It?
The back of a DVD remote control had fallen off, exposing the battery to prying little fingers.
On Karla’s blog, she documented Emmett’s stay in the hospital, stating:
“Watching you lay so sick, helplessly and so full of pain on the bed in the Pediatric ICU. I beat myself for not knowing that you had swallowed such a heinous and abhorrent object! I ache at the thought that it was burning you so fiercely inside your sweet innocent body!!!”
Karla was certainly beside herself, and wished she could have foreseen the dangers of button batteries.
After surgery to remove the battery, the news got worse. The battery acid had burned a hole through his trachea, and he could no longer breathe on his own. His esophagus was surgically rerouted to the side of his neck, and the other end attached to his stomach. This allowed him to breathe, but he was hooked up to a feeding tube for 100% nourishment.
Very Long Recovery Ahead
Even after he was sent home, he needed weekly physical, occupational, and speech therapies. For the next 5 years, he had to undergo 65 additional surgeries due to complications from his initial injuries. He can now breathe on his own, but he’s lost functional use of his vocal cords.
Battery Safety Tips
Here are some safety tips from Safe Kids Worldwide regarding button batteries:
- Keep lithium button batteries out of sight (and reach) of children
- Loose batteries should be locked away
- Use duct tape on the back of devices to prevent small hands from accessing the battery
- Share this information with caregivers, friends and family
- If you suspect a child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately
- Enter the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) into your phone
This is an example of a button battery that can be found in remote controls, watches, calculators, key fobs, etc.
Now It’s Ice Cream
How things have changed! Emmett now enjoys munching on a bowl of ice cream.
Mom Is A Crusader
Karla and Michael have started a foundation to bring awareness to the dangers of button batteries. Their Facebook page for the foundation is filled with stories of support.
See more of Emmett’s story in this video.