We all have one…a junk drawer. The place we shove things that we will want again, but we’re not sure when and items which just don’t have another ‘home’.
Remodelling the house means mine is even more full of
shit junk than usual. A cursory glance turns up batteries, receipts, a watch with a damaged strap, plastic carrier bags, a furry boiled sweet circa God knows when, a screwdriver, dog lead, and more batteries…you get the picture. Admit it, you have a drawer, cupboard or box just like this.
The deaths of several children in the UK has been linked to these drawers…or rather a particular item we often store in them: Lithium batteries.
The small round shape, nice and shiny attracts young children almost immediately. Now a child choking on a battery is bad enough but lithium batteries are responsible for far more than choking hazards.
These small batteries don’t even have to be broken, chewed or damaged in any way to cause a terrible death from internal bleeding.
Once inside the body the battery creates an electrical current, and that current causes a build up of sodium hydroxide the common name of which is caustic soda. The caustic soda burns through the oesophagus and continues on to burn through major blood vessels leading to catastrophic internal bleeding.
Even after removal, if enough sodium hydroxide has built up the burning will continue causing death anything up to a week later.
Once major internal haemorrhaging starts it is all but impossible to stop, death is almost inevitable.
Put all batteries, but lithium batteries in particular in a tin, box or some kind of container that’s stored well out of the reach of children. Even just a few minutes sucking on one of these batteries can trigger the reaction and leave the child with severe oral burns that can, in the worst cases, leave them with injuries that will affect them for life.
It’s just not worth it. Sort out the drawer.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.