How a Spoonful of Honey May Save Your Child’s Life
Every home with babies and toddlers is full of hidden dangers for these little ones who still love to put everything in their mouths. While it may not be a big deal if your child eats a dust bunny or an errant M&M that has been under the couch for a few weeks, other items can cause serious damage. One of the most dangerous things that kids can (and do) swallow are button batteries that are shiny, tiny, are shaped like candy — and found in many kids' toys and other household items.
Every year, more than 2,500 children swallow these highly caustic button batteries and many of them suffer life-long issues as a result of the batteries perforating the esophagus, paralyzing vocal cords, and eroding the airway or major blood vessels. For other children, swallowing button batteries is fatal.
The longer it takes for a button battery to be removed, the higher the chances that the child will suffer a serious complication or worse. It can be hours before the battery is removed, because a parent may not notice that a battery is missing right away or because a child does not live near a hospital with the pediatric specialists needed to perform the surgery.
Up until now, there wasn't much a parent could do except watch and wait. But now, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, a simple household staple can help prevent serious injury. While waiting for the battery to be removed, honey can create a protective barrier between the sensitive tissue in your child's throat and the battery, as well as neutralize harsh alkaline levels in the battery itself. While further studies will be done to determine the most effective intervals at which to administer honey, the current recommendation is to give a teaspoon of honey to your child every five to ten minutes until the child begins to receive medical attention at the hospital.
Bear in mind that the recommendation not to give honey to children younger than one year old because of the risk of infant botulism still stands so only administer honey to your child if he is older than one or if specifically recommended by your child's doctor. You may want to discuss this new recommendation with your pediatrician at your next appointment to be sure you understand what to do if your child does accidentally swallow a button battery.
You can check out detailed guidelines and instructions here.
Has your child ever swallowed something they shouldn't have? Tell us about it in the comments!