What a hotdog and battery can teach you about kid safety

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Keep your kids away from button batteries this holiday or risk internal burns. The University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital posted that warning online, earlier this week.

A button battery sat inside this hotdog for about an hour and 45 minutes, charring the inside. (KCRG-TV9)

Button batteries are those round, flat, silver-colored energy sources. In the hospital's Facebook post, Tuesday, the battery burned a piece of deli meat over a period of two hours.

The little batteries can be found in some electronic toys, but also plenty of things adults use daily—watches, key fobs or remotes.

KCRG-TV9 tried the battery experiment with a hotdog to simulate an internal organ, placing a button battery inside. It only took about 30 minutes until the sausage started to bubble and cook. After about 45 minutes, charring appeared on the edges near the battery.

UI officials said, if a button battery is ingested, “…saliva triggers an electrical current, causing a chemical reaction that can result in severe internal burns.”

University of Iowa doctors treat a few small children each year who've ingested the batteries. They can do a lot of damage.

“The worst that can happen, you can actually create a hole in the tissue,” said Dr. Erica M. Carlisle, a pediatric surgeon at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “Either in the esophagus or the trachea. That can require operations or life-long consequences."

Dr. Carlisle recommended those with electronics that use button batteries make sure they're locked up tight inside the device. Electronics without a secure battery compartment can use tape.