Emergency Medicine Expert Available to Discuss the Dangers to Children of Button Batteries and Magnets This Holiday Season

Newark, N.J. (Dec. 10, 2018) – Rutgers University experts are available to discuss the dangers to children of button batteries — the tiny batteries used in toys, watches and electronics — and of small magnets, as the gift-giving season approaches.

Button batteries, also known as disc batteries, are easy to swallow and can cause serious, potentially fatal internal burns if stuck in the throat or stomach. They also present a choking hazard.

“Button batteries are one of the most dangerous objects in a young child’s home,” said Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center. “They are used to power common objects, like musical greeting cards, key fobs, and children’s toys – but when swallowed they can cause irreparable or fatal harm within just two hours.”

Calello also discussed the dangers of magnets – and noted that, if a child consumes two or more magnets, they can attract each other while inside the body, potentially resulting in serious harm to internal organs.

Watch the effects of ingested disc batteries here.

To date, the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers University Medical School department of emergency medicine has referred 19 children to hospital emergency rooms for swallowing a button battery and 10 for swallowing magnets.

Diane Calello can be reached at [email protected]  or by contacting Alicia Gambino at 973-972-9280 or [email protected].

Calling the medical professionals at the Poison Control Center, 1-800-222-1222, is always the fastest way to get the expert help or information you need to prevent further injury.

Broadcast interviews: Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino [email protected]


Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conducting research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and collaborating university-wide, RBHS includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. RBHS offers an outstanding education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, biomedical research and the full spectrum of allied health careers. RBHS clinical and academic facilities are located throughout the state.