Knowledge and Resource Hub
31 July 2018

Giving honey to kids who swallow button batteries may buy time on the way to the ER, researchers say

This article reports on the results of a study examining the impact of giving children honey after they have accidentally swallowed a button battery. Swallowing these batteries can have a potentially deadly outcome, with serious damage often occurring within two hours of ingesting the battery. When a button battery is ingested it reacts with the saliva and tissue of the oesophagus, creating an alkaline solution that essentially dissolves tissue. Therefore the time between ingestion and battery removal is a critical time to act to reduce oesophageal injury. Researchers tested a variety of substances to see if they could create a protective barrier between the tissue and the battery, as well as neutralise harsh alkaline levels. They found that a combination of honey and the ulcer medication Carafate achieved the proper pH level required to neutralise battery acid. The author stated that the honey option is meant for home use and should be utilised until the child can get to a hospital.