The U.S. House and Senate have both approved a bill that will increase safety regulations for items using button batteries in an effort to keep young children safe. Joe Biden will now sign the bill into law.
What is Reese’s Law?
A bipartisan piece of legislation passed by Congress is named for a young child who died after consuming a battery. Reese Hamsmith, who passed away at the age of 18 months last year, inspired Reese’s Law, which tightens safety regulations for items that routinely use button batteries.
Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old girl from Lubbock, Texas, died after ingesting a button battery, a small, round battery present in many toys and household items. Reese’s Law is a piece of legislation bearing her name.
Trista Hamsmith, Reese’s mother, set out on a mission when she passed away to make sure no other parent had to experience the same sorrow and loss as her family.
After the bill was approved by the Senate, Hamsmith released a statement saying, “Reese’s life was snatched way too soon, but her legacy will live on through this law so that no other family will have to suffer like ours.” “We are grateful that this legislation has been passed to assist in safeguarding all children and families from the unrecognised risks of button batteries.”
According to the office of Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor, Reese’s Law would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish safety standards, such as mandating that businesses use product warning labels, childproof packaging, and uphold performance standards to ensure that children under the age of six cannot access button batteries.
Death cause of Reese Hamsmith
According to Hamsmith, Reese first experienced cold-like symptoms, including a stuffy nose, in October 2020 when she was 16 months old.
Reese was seen by a paediatrician who, according to Hamsmith and her husband, assumed that Reese had croup, an infection of the upper airways, and gave her steroids.
The family found a button battery was missing from a remote control in their house shortly after that. Reese’s symptoms of coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness resembled those of button battery consumption, so Hamsmith said she and her husband hurriedly took Reese to the emergency department after doing some research online.
An X-ray revealed that Reese had a battery stuck close to the top of his oesophagus.
Reese passed away on December 17, 2020 after six weeks in the hospital, numerous surgeries, and attempts to save her life, according to Hamsmith.
Hamsmith calls button batteries a “hidden danger”
Since button batteries are found in so many products—including remote controls, hearing aids, thermometers, tealight candles, battery-operated jewellery, greeting cards, key fobs, children’s toys, and even toothbrushes—Hamsmith refers to them as a “hidden hazard.”
After Reese passed away, Hamsmith founded the nonprofit Reese’s Purpose to inform parents about button battery safety and work toward changing how button batteries are packaged and integrated into products.
She stated to “GMA” last year that “button battery ingestion actually takes one second to happen.” It can happen if you put your child down, turn around, and pick up a piece of laundry.
In a joint statement, Blumenthal and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican and the bill’s principal sponsor, noted that “kids like Reese Hamsmith have sadly tragically perished or been gravely injured after swallowing this little but lethal threat present in common home goods.” We are relieved that this sensible legislation has been approved by Congress and is on its way to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law, allowing families to feel safer about the items they use in their homes.
The National Capital Poison Center estimates that more than 3,500 Americans ingest button batteries every year.
The actual number of button battery ingestions per year is significantly higher than what is reported, according to Dr. Kris Jatana, a professor in the department of otolaryngology at Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
According to research by Jatana, who assisted in developing the GIRC App, a global database by the Global Injury Research Collaborative for medical professionals to track the severity of injuries, including from button batteries, there was a 93% increase in emergency department visits for battery-related complaints in school-aged children in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.
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He said to “GMA” last year that he believed parents were not aware of the serious dangers these items posed. We are forced to question, “How can we prevent these injuries in the first place?” because we are unable to treat the injuries that these batteries create.
Here are three recommendations from Jatana and Hamsmith for preventing and managing injuries caused by ingesting button batteries.
- Keep a list of the button batteries you have in your house. According to Hamsmith and Jatana, the most crucial thing for parents and other caregivers to do is to constantly be aware of and be aware of the presence of all the button batteries in their home. This is because the symptoms of button battery ingestion in children can mimic the symptoms of other illnesses, as was the case with Reese.
- Caretakers are advised by Hamsmith to keep items containing button batteries out of sight as well as reach of kids, especially those under the age of six who are most at danger of eating strange objects.
- Jatana advised people to periodically check all electronic gadgets to make sure the battery container is locked, in addition to being aware of where their button batteries are kept in their homes. The most vulnerable age group to swallowing a foreign item is children under the age of six.
- Recognize the signs: According to a website developed by Jatana and Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a button battery resource, symptoms of swallowing a button battery may include fever, a lack of appetite or desire for liquids, irritability, wheezing, breathing difficulties, coughing, throat pain, choking, gagging, problems swallowing, and vomiting.
- Another risky practise among kids is to place a button battery in their ear or nose. According to Jatana, signs to watch out for include irritation, pain or swelling in the ears or nose, fever, and fluid discharge or bleeding from the ears or nose.
- Parents and other adults should always be aware of where button batteries are located in the home, according to Jatana. Children who ingest button batteries may also show no symptoms at all.
- Act swiftly because, according to Jatana, serious esophageal damage can happen two hours after a youngster consumes a button battery, even before symptoms appear.
- The instant the battery is inserted into the oesophagus, the time begins to run out, he declared.
- Call for assistance right away if a youngster consumes a button battery. You can do this by dialling 911 or the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666, which is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
- While they are waiting for medical assistance, parents and other caretakers can treat the youngster with honey. Children 12 months and older should be given 10 millilitres of honey every 10 minutes, according to experts from the National Capital Poison Center.
- Jatana emphasised that getting to the emergency department right away should be the main priority and that doing so should not be postponed.
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