The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning to consumers about the accidental swallowing of ‘button’ batteries. These small, coin sized batteries are often used in products around the home, including toys, children’s interactive books, remote controls, small lights, and hearing aids.

According to the CPSC, in some cases, swallowing the batteries can have “immediate and devastating” consequences. Young children and senior adults are most at risk of accidently swallowing the batteries, they said.

In a study done by Dr. Toby Litovitz, of the National Capital Poison Center, incidents of severe injury or death due to ingestion of these types of batteries had increased sevenfold since 1985. According to the study, ingested batteries can “generate and release hydroxide, resulting in dangerous chemical burns.”

Most of the reports involved either children under four years old, or senior adults. The children generally got the batteries from games or other items left within their reach. The senior adults generally swallowed batteries intended for hearing aids, after mistaking them for pills.

“These incidents are preventable and CPSC is working to get ahead of this emerging hazard quickly,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Our consumer awareness efforts and outreach to the electronics industry are under way.”

The CPSC provides additional information and advice through their site at