A new study reported in the medical journal Pediatrics today says there were nearly 66,000 battery-related emergency room visits by children younger than 18 between 1990 and 2009. The study also said the number reported annual more than doubled — from 2,591 to 5,525 — by 2009, with button batteries accounting for 84% of battery-related ER visits by kids.

The increase in ER visits has coincided with the advent of 3-volt 20-millimeter lithium batteries. In most cases, a swallowed battery will pass harmlessly through the digestive system and out through the stool. However, these small, disc batteries have the potential cause severe damage and even death. The devices may become lodged in the esophagus, and moisture can spark a current, causing long-term scarring or even eroding into the aorta.

Almost of a third of swallowed button batteries come from toys and games, but the majority are from other household devices — including hearing aids, watches, calculators, remote controls and flashlights.

If you suspect your child swallowed a button battery , immediately take the child to the nearest emergency room. An X-ray can determine whether the device has lodged in your child’s esophagus.

The button battery injury lawyers  at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  are the most experienced in the nation in these types of cases. Contact them today to find out if you have a case.