Button batteries: How needless child deaths can be prevented

This type of ingestion is an increasing problem and can be difficult to recognise

In 2013, four-year-old Summer Steer died from acute blood loss several days after swallowing a button battery. She hadn’t told her family she’d swallowed anything, so they didn’t know what was wrong. At least not until the caustic reaction caused by the battery, which had lodged in her oesophagus, ate through to her aorta.


She presented to hospital with a series of small bleeds, followed by a torrential haemorrhage. The battery was only discovered after she