Duracell has rolled out a new child safety feature for its lithium coin batteries, per a recent company announcement.
The battery brand debuted a non-toxic bitter-coating on its lithium battery sizes 2032, 2025 and 2016, to discourage accidental ingestion.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coin-sized button batteries present “particular concern” for ingestion because, when lodged in the esophagus, they can lead to serious complications or even death.
A separate study published last year in the American Academy of Pediatrics found a 150-fold increase in battery ingestions over a 21-year study period leading up to 2015.
"Although such batteries have been used for nearly 30 years, the increase in ingestions is likely related to their increased use in electronic devices," authors wrote. "Furthermore, the past three decades have seen increased morbidity and mortality resulting from button battery (BB) use, likely related to increased battery diameter and a move to lithium cells, which have longer shelf lives and carry more voltage than previous cells."
Duracell said it “was determined to provide parents and caregivers of young children with an additional safety feature, child-safe packaging and supportive education to help reverse this rising and devastating trend.”
The company added that its packaging requires scissors to open, calling it “a tough double blister around the lithium coin cell is nearly impossible to open with bare hands.”
“We are confident this is the technology families and caregivers need to help close the gap between a child getting their hands on a lithium coin cell and the unfortunate event of ingestion,” the statement added.
Nevertheless, the CDC says parents should be aware of the potential hazards and recognize that kids may be reluctant or unable to communicate accidental ingestion. Keep the products away from children, as delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious consequences, the health agency wrote, emphasizing the importance of prompt medical care,