The parents of little baby Emmett were confused at how he become so extremely ill. They rushed him to the ER and doctors discovered the unlikely answer through x-rays. And they were shocked.
We buy into these trendy terms like “baby proof.” Parents will buy “baby proof” items, they will try to “baby proof” their homes, when in reality they are missing the point altogether. There is no such thing as “baby proof.” The most unlikely object can quickly turn into a hazardous situation when a baby is around it. Karla and Michael Rauch learned this from a DVD remote control. Not everything can be labeled “baby proof” so we tend to not pay as close attention to those items which we wouldn’t think are an issue. But that remote control ended up causing their child to go through multiple surgeries.
Emmett had just turned 1. After his party he became feverish, lethargic and wouldn’t eat. Diagnosed initially as a cold, things took a turn for the worse, when a few days later he started coughing up blood. In the ER it was discovered through X-rays that the baby had ingested a lithium ion battery. It was lodged in his esophagus.
How He Got It
The mom writes about her son being in the hospital, and her guilt about neglecting to pay attention when he had taken the battery out of the remote.
“Watching you lay so sick, helplessly and so full of pain on the bed in the Pediatric ICU. I beat myself for not knowing that you had swallowed such a heinous and abhorrent object! I ache at the thought that it was burning you so fiercely inside your sweet innocent body!!!”
Clearly the mother wishes she would have been watching her baby like a hawk so she could have prevented this tragedy from occurring.
They performed surgery to remove the battery, but they we’re not out of the woods by a long shot. Turns out the battery acid had burned a hole through his trachea. He couldn’t breath on his own. His esophagus had to be surgically rerouted to the side of his neck, while the other end attached to his stomach. He was able to breath now, but still needed to be hooked up to a feeding tube to ensure nourishment.
A Long Recovery
Weekly physical, occupational and speech therapies were required after he was sent home. And for the 5 years to follow, 65 additional surgeries due to complications needed to be had. While he can breath on his own now, he lost functional use of his vocal cords.
As to prevent this from occurring to other children, here are some battery safety tips:
Keep lithium button batteries out of sight (and reach) of children
Loose batteries should be locked away
Use duct tape on the back of devices to prevent small hands from accessing the battery
Share this information with caregivers, friends and family
If you suspect a child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately
Enter the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) into your phone
Ice Cream Time
Emmett has come a long way and now can enjoy some ice cream!
The parents have made it their mission to warn other parents about the dangers of button batteries.