Skip to main content

This is what a button battery can do to the inside of your throat

The battery can make your esophagus singe, bubble and burn.

The experiment looks ... sparse.

It's a generic slice of ham, on a generic white styrofoam plate, with a little silver battery on it. But holy cow does it get unnerving quick.

This is the start of the experiment:

It was tweeted by EMT Ross Antonio Chavez as part of a medical training program for Hennepin County Medical Center.

But here's that same slice of ham, on the same styrofoam plate, with the same little battery on it, just a little bit later.

The ham is standing in for throat tissue here. And when combined with liquid, like saliva, the battery starts to burn – the esophageal tissue singes, bubbles, and crisps.

The goal is to show how much damage one of those button batteries can be if they're swallowed.

It's far more disturbing than ham on a plate has any right to be. But this is happening to kids.

Cases of ingesting button batteries

A 3-year-old ate only through a feeding tube, for a year, after accidentally swallowing a button battery that then got stuck in her throat, the BBC reported. She had surgery to try to repair the damage.

Here's their video report for the story:

In Oklahoma last year, a 2-year-old died after swallowing a button battery. The details are gruesome – she threw up blood and turned a blue color, and was rushed to the hospital.

“They operated on her for 2 1/2 hours, but they couldn't stop the bleeding,” a family member told The Oklahoman. “They believed the battery ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus.”

And recently a Florida couple sued a hospital that told them it likely wasn't a big deal.

This doesn't happen every time says more than 3,000 button batteries – which you find in watches, small toys, cameras, and a bunch of other small electronics – are ingested each year in the U.S.

The National Capital Poison Center says a lot of times, the batteries can end up passing through the digestive system and come out with stool. It's the ones that get stuck somewhere that cause these serious issues.

If you think a child has swallowed a button battery, take them to the emergency room immediately. The faster it comes out, the less damage it can do.

You can also call U.S. Poison Control 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222

What to do

The best thing you can do – as is the case with many of the things that can be a danger to kids – is watch them. Keep an eye on their toys, and the items around your house that may use button batteries.

Make sure the battery compartments are sealed.

Next Up

Eric Kendricks

Vikings' Kendricks says 'fear-based' approach not the way to go

The linebacker spoke to the media Monday after Mike Zimmer's firing.

tony webster light rail green line flickr

Man charged in light rail knife attack and police squad arson

The separate incidents happened days apart, with the suspect now charged in both cases.

covid test 5

Biden Admin: Home COVID tests will soon be covered by insurance

The tests will be free with insurance starting Saturday.

chaska 3

Historic home in downtown Chaska on the market for $430,000

The property is zoned commercial and residential.

Kirk Cousins

Vikings owner on Cousins situation: 'It's not a simple answer on all this'

The high-profile quarterback has a $45 million cap hit next season.

duluth fire 2

Duluth firefighters battling blaze at former Seaway Hotel

Wind chills were 35 below zero Monday morning.

Mike Zimmer

Coller: Mike Zimmer set the bar high and then couldn't reach it

The head coach whose teams were known for their fight went out in back-to-back seasons in meaningless games. Few coaches survive that.

Rick Spielman

Rick Spielman issues statement after being fired by Vikings

Spielman was let go by the franchise he had called home for 16 years.

ray Js

Charges: Sledgehammer-wielding burglar targeted pull tabs safe at restaurant

The suspect was unsuccessful getting inside the pull tabs safe.


Charges: Minnesota small town shooting sparked by missing gold teeth

The suspect, however, says the man he shot was being "aggressive" and wouldn't let him leave.

covid nurse

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, January 10

More than 10,000 newly reported cases today.

becker missing person

Update: Missing 82-year-old man found safe

He was last seen Sunday and did not return home. He was found safe on Monday.


Can a court force you to unlock a phone with your fingerprint? Yep

If investigators need your fingerprint to access your phone for a case, they can probably get it.

You can Boomerang from inside Instagram now

Get some sweet Boomerangs in your Instagram story.

From strokes to depression – here's what 'springing forward' does to your body

Daylight saving time begins Sunday at 2 a.m., so you'll essentially be losing an hour of sleep.

Pexels smartphone use app

MN residents can now access their COVID vaccine record in an app

The state's Department of Health unveiled the new option Wednesday.

Authorities arrest 20-year-old with $22,000 worth of marijuana wax

It's made by using lighter fluid to pull out the THC from regular marijuana.

Eden Prairie police save man's life with overdose reversal drug

The man was found on the ground, unconscious, and having trouble breathing.

What is synthetic marijuana, and why is it more dangerous?

There have been dozens of K2 overdoses in the Twin Cities recently.

3M technology could boost battery life 40 percent

Gadgets might run significantly longer or come much smaller thanks to a new innovation from 3M. The company has devised a new kind of battery component made of silicon that can significantly boost the amount of energy stored in conventional lithium ion batteries (the kind used in our gadgets).