Doctors: Honey may help buy time if your child swallows a button battery

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We’ve reported extensively on button batteries, their dangers and a recent federal response. You may remember Reese Hamsmith, a child from Lubbock who died after swallowing one.

In October of 2020, 17-month-old Reese swallowed a button battery. The battery left Reese with burns in her throat, esophagus and on her vocal cords. After being treated at UMC, she was moved to Texas Children’s in Houston where she died from her injuries just six weeks after the battery was removed.

Now we’re learning how honey could possibly save the life of anyone who may have swallowed a button battery.

In Ohio, a three-year-old named Maggie swallowed a button battery. Doctors say thanks to her mother and sister’s quick response, her injuries weren’t as severe as they could have been. Her mother Katie Jacobsen says that the idea to feed the child honey came from poison control. Doctor Michael Foreman, a Lubbock Pediatric Gastroenterologist says that honey can make a huge difference.

“It kind of coats the battery to keep it from touching the esophagus but it is also a little acidic and so it’s thought to bring the pH down just a little bit as well,” Dr. Foreman said.

Dr. Foreman says it only takes about 10 milliliters, or about two teaspoons every 10 minutes. He says parents should be safe instead of sorry.

“I would rather have a kiddo who’s good and sugared up with an esophagus that’s got less damage done to it than accepting the potential for damage.”

While honey will help slow down the potential of injury, it is no substitute for the emergency room. Foreman says, “Getting to care is very important, probably most important but if you can give honey on the way I would absolutely recommend it.”

Doctor Foreman says while button batteries are not the most common item that kids swallow, it is the most concerning.

In September 2021, Representative Jodey Arrington joined with Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly to introduce Reese’s Law to the US House of Representatives. The House passed the law in July of this year. It was then passed by the Senate in August.