Little girl's pain after swallowing 20 lolly-like batteries
A TOOWOOMBA mother has recounted the horror of watching her two-year-old daughter writhing in agony after swallowing at least 20 button batteries.
"It hurts, it hurts, help me."
Hope Summers recalled hearing those words last Saturday night, as her daughter Saphira was "screaming her lungs out on the hospital floor".
Only hours earlier, Mrs Summers had found Saphira holding an empty packet of button batteries.
"I left her alone for 20 minutes. She had managed to find, open, consume them and sit there playing with the packaging," Mrs Summers said.
"My heart sunk."
The 26-year-old mother immediately dialled triple-zero; but when the ambulance arrived Saphira showed no symptoms.
"You'd think she was a perfectly healthy little girl," Mrs Summers said.
"See didn't want to hop in the ambulance she wanted to go to the park."
Queensland Ambulance Service clinical director Tony Hucker called button batteries "silent killers"; he said symptoms were often delayed but "as time goes on you burn more".
Two hours later, Mrs Summers said her daughter was "holding her stomach and screaming."
"I was absolutely balling my eyes out," Mrs Summers said.
"I started getting told stuff like, we only have two to four hours before these batteries start leaking."
"She was already within that danger zone."
Saphira was flown to Brisbane where surgeons removed the batteries with an endoscopic surgery.
She was discharged the next night, with burns to her stomach.
"We walked from the hospital with a doctor's certificate saying she could return to usual routine," Hope Summers said.
"The nurse had given her this big piece of banana bread and she was just scoffing it.
"It was amazing to see her back to her normal self."
It was a miraculous recovery, and a timely warning for other families.
"The scary thing is she still will point at a button battery pack and tell you it's 'yummy'," said Mrs Summers.
She said the thin, flat batteries looked like "lollies" to her daughter.
Really, they're more like cyanide.
"Even one can be lethal," said QAS clinical director Tony Hucker.
"The minute you put a button battery into a moist environment, it starts producing a charge, it starts burning and it starts causing damage.
"That can cause a fatal bleed."
20 children are taken to Australian emergency departments each week after consuming button batteries.
"We need to make sure we get them out of our houses," said Mr Hucker.
An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission taskforce has been investigating button battery safety since August.
It has already recalled five products with insecure battery compartments.