Toddler Dies After Swallowing Game Battery

Button-Sized Battery Eroded Esophagus, Aorta

A funeral was held Friday morning for 2-year-old Elaina Redding, who bled to death three weeks after a button-sized battery lodged in her esophagus.

Elaina's mother, Donna Ryan, told 7NEWS that they didn't know how Elaina got the battery in her mouth but they later determined it probably came from a small, electronic game.

"It was from a hand-held Yahtzee, an electronic game," said Elaina's father, A.J. Redding.

The girl swallowed the battery on May 2 and started clutching her chest, saying it hurt, her parents said. Elaina's parents took her to Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton, where X-rays revealed the problem.

Elaina was moved to Children's Hospital in Aurora where doctors performed an endoscopy and removed the battery. She was released on May 6.

On May 20, Elaina came out of the bathroom saying she was having problems. A few minutes later, Ryan found her daughter on the bathroom floor, where she had coughed up blood.

"She threw up all over my arm, I had blood on my arm, on my clothes," Ryan said.

Ryan said Elaina also coughed up blood in her hospital room and was taken to the intensive care unit. She was bleeding faster than the doctors could put blood in, Ryan said.

"She already had rolled her eyes back in her head when the doctor went to get help," Ryan said.

Elaina suffered another fit of coughing late that night and hemorrhaged to death about 2 a.m. on May 21.

An autopsy performed by the Weld County Coroner's Office determined Elaina's death was accidental. Coroner Marcia Vincent told 7NEWS that Elaina bled to death of esophageal hemorrhage due to erosion of her esophagus and aorta.

Elaina's mother is now hoping her daughter's death gives parents pause.

"Put the batteries under lock and key," Ryan said.

"Throw them away, put them away or keep them where kids can't get them," Redding said.

Elaina funeral was scheduled for 10 a.m. at St. Williams Church.

"Pretty much every moment with her was a happy one. We couldn't even discipline her because she was too cute," Ryan said.

"It's hard because she was always with me. I took her everywhere," Redding said.

Button-Sized Batteries Everywhere

The National Capital Poison Center said more than 3,000 people of all ages in the Unites States each year unintentionally swallow miniature disc or "button" batteries used to power hearing aids, key fobs, watches, calculators, remotes, and even those musical greeting cards.

Some toys made to be put into a baby's mouth contain the potential hazard.

The dangers of the batteries include choking, hemorrhaging and poisoning.

Ten percent of kids who swallow button batteries die, according to the poison center. That's because batteries lodged in the esophagus can cause severe burns in just two hours. Within six hours, the battery can eat through the esophagus or the organ they are lodged against, and within eight to 10 hours, it can cause death.

Battery removal is done with an endoscope. Surgery is rarely, if ever, indicated. Experts say do not give your child ipecac if he or she has swallowed a battery.

The National Capital Poison Center in Washington, DC operates a 24/7 hot line at 202-625-3333 to assist when one of these button batteries is swallowed. The experts there say a battery that doesn't move through the gut, especially one that lodges in the esophagus, may adhere to tissue and leak or the electrical current passing through adjacent tissue can generate alkali.

Chemical burns may result.

Symptoms in children include refusing to take fluids, an increase in salivation, vomiting and abdominal tenderness. But in one study nine of 25 patients had no symptoms at all. That's why officials say do not wait for symptoms to develop before getting an X-ray. If the battery remains in the esophagus, it must be removed immediately.

Additional Resource:

  • To learn more about button battery dangers, go to Poison.org.
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