• Infant Button Battery Injury and Death (IBBID): Legal Remedies and Options for Redress

    John Paull (see profile)
    Law, Products liability, Pediatrics, Children, Lithium cells, Lithium, Lithium ion batteries, Ingestion disorders in children, Ingestion, Product safety
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    Infant button battery injury and death (IBBID) is a known worldwide risk for pre-school age children. An ingested button battery that lodges in a child’s oesophagus will be fatal for the child if the button battery is not promptly removed. Button batteries of 20 mm diameter (e.g. CR2032) present a serious risk of such lodgement if ingested, they are in common usage (for example in many car key-fobs), and are readily available in supermarkets. Where such a button battery is removed (say by medical intervention) the child may be permanently disabled. It is the diameter of such button batteries (≥20 mm) that leads to lodgement and the electrical charge of such batteries that will cause tissue chemical burn, which, will likely be fatal if the burn creates a fistula (tunnel) through to an organ adjacent to the oesophagus (e.g., a tracheoesophageal fistula joins the windpipe and the gullet). Seven legal options for action are considered in the present paper, with ratings of cost, duration, and potential sources of funding (for the UK): Class action; Representative action; Individual action; Prevention of Future Death Report; Household insurance; Judicial review; and medical negligence. At present injured children ‘suffer in silence’ and some die, but if the harms of IBBID are sufficiently monetised, then it can be anticipated that the dangerous button batteries will price themselves out of the market and manufacturers and suppliers will seek alternatives (e.g. different size, different chemistry, different design).
    Keywords: Coin batteries, CR2032, death, disability, law, Office for Product Safety and Standards, OPSS, paediatric harm, personal injury, product liability, product safety, product standards, UK.
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    Last Updated:
    6 months ago


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