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Warning as Glenrothes girl ends up in hospital after swallowing battery

Sarah Wallace with her mum and stepdad. Right, an x-ray of the battery in her throat and left, the damage caused by the battery.
Sarah Wallace with her mum and stepdad. Right, an x-ray of the battery in her throat and left, the damage caused by the battery.

A Glenrothes mum is warning parents of the dangers of batteries after her daughter ended up in hospital when she swallowed one.

Nine-year-old Sarah Wallace was left in agony after ingesting the button battery, which had come out of a remote control for a night light.

She told mum Joanne she had swallowed a piece of metal – so Joanne rushed her daughter to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, where x-rays confirmed that the battery was lodged in Sarah’s oesophagus.

Joanne said: “Within 10 minutes of swallowing the battery, Sarah was screaming in pain and couldn’t breathe properly.

An x-ray showing the button battery in Sarah’s oesophagus.

“We rushed to the emergency department knowing how serious the situation was.

“When Sarah was sick, the battery became dislodged from her throat, but what was once silver and shiny had turned black and was leaking.”

Sarah was transferred to Edinburgh for further tests and scans to understand how much damage the battery had caused, and whether further treatment would be needed.

Potentially fatal if swallowed

Joanne continued: “The tests showed that the damage caused by the battery was relatively small and should leave minimal scarring, which we hope will mean that Sarah will not require any further treatment.

“The whole ordeal though was terrifying, but we were incredibly lucky.

“For many other children, the same situation could have been fatal.

“Button batteries are in so many things around the house, from TV remotes to children’s toys.

“To all parents and guardians, I urge you to check where these items are stored, and to make sure that battery compartments can’t be easily accessed.”

Sarah with mum Joanne and stepdad Jamie.

Consultant Joe Meredith, who carried out the procedures at NHS Lothian’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, says Joanne’s quick actions had averted a potential tragedy.

He said: “Sarah is really lucky, thanks to her mum’s quick action the damage caused by the button battery was small.

“The situation however, could have been entirely different. If a button battery is swallowed it can cause serious damage to internal organs which can be fatal.”

‘Don’t delay taking them to hospital’

He added: “With Christmas fast approaching, I would urge parents to be extra vigilant as button batteries are often found in decorations and children’s toys.

“If you think your child has swallowed a battery, take them to the nearest A&E department as quickly as possible.

“Do not give them anything to eat or drink or try to make them sick.

“If possible, try to find out what sort of battery your child swallowed, but do not delay taking them to hospital.”

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