Nightly News | May 14, 2012
>>> we mentioned earlier, doctors have a warning for the parents of small children. it's about the small coin shaped batteries found in all kinds of products. they're behind a growing number of visits to the emergency room . our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman , is with us. even though when you have kids, you're hyperaware of choking hazards, it's not on the top of the mind.
>> i have seen a lot of cases like this in the emergency room , in the operating room . child comes in, suddenly a parent says i think my child swallowed someone. it's something circular, is it a coin, a button? it could be something danger, something different all together.
>> susan and mark thought they had done everything right when they baby proofed their home.
>> we hut the outlet covers on, the knobs on our stove. we're covered. we had babyicates all over the house. we put everything up that we thought we needed to put up.
>> when they son max was 15 months old, he stumbled onto a remote control and removed and swallowed a button battery. his parents were concerned and took him to the hospital, where doctors found this.
>> the image is burned into my brain forever. we looked at each other and started crying.
>> max was taken to the o.r. to have it removed.
>> we sat there not knowing if he would come out alive or even have a voice.
>> he came out of the surgery screaming for us. that was a very good sign.
>> max is far from alone. a new study in the journal of pediatrics found in 2009 , a child was taken to the er every 90 minutes because of battery injuries. that's twice as many visits as 20 years ago. dr. gary smith coauthored the stoudy and said max's parents were right to rush him to the hospital.
>> if a young child swallows a button battery, it's a medical emergency . that child needs to have that removed immediately or within less than two hours, it can cause serious injury or even death.
>> less than a third of kids' er visits come from batteries in toys. no surprise to max's parents who now say they're watching everything.
>> the batteries are everywhere, in remoats, in key chains , in cars, in christmas ornaments .
>> industry standards have changed, trying to make remote controls tougher to get the battery out. just today, went downstairs, got one of these fancy cards, and guess what, it doesn't take much for a toddler to open up the back of the card and that's the kind of battery that can literally change a child's life and never for the better.
>> this is a big eye opener. thank you for doing