How Do You Prevent Power Problems?

Study in Journal of Pediatrics revealed that the number of those ages 18 and under who visited the ER for swallowing batteries has more than doubled in past two decades.

Last week in Moms Talk,asked,

She queried us on a very important topic, especially for women who juggle it all—motherhood, work and other responsibilities. Her post reminded us about the need to unwind and find time for ourselves to recharge to continue to be nurturers and caretakers.

She also offered us a safe haven she's found to do just that—take a time-out. It's the YMCA Camp Campbell in Boulder Creek, only a 30-minute drive from Los Gatos.

Here's what some of our commenters had to say, including our Moms Council of experts:

"Boy, just reading your column had me take a nice deep breath ~ what a wonderful find and yes, moms do need a time out! We rarely if ever, make it on to our list of who to take care of. Even if it's a mani/pedi, a massage, or girlfriend time over a great glass of wine and food treats, we need to give ourselves that time to replenish and nourish ourselves. When we're on empty or running on fumes, it's not exactly our best selves to be sharing and caring for those we love. I'm checking it out Carrie and probably checking in!

Wow! Your retreat sounds perfect! Moms are on the job around the clock. It is so important to stop that clock, take a moment for yourself, and feel rejuvenated. Being an educator and business owner, I also feel this need take a time out. I have had to make an effort to take time off for myself, or else I will keep working and remain overworked, stressed, and exhausted. A retreat like this sounds divine!

So true! Thank you for the reminder and for the resource! I had heard about Camp Campbell for Science Camp for local schools and even "Family Camps" during the summer, but a retreat for Mom is such a marvelous idea!

I also went to a women's retreat at Camp Campbell years ago and thought it was awesome! I did do some hiking, but mostly I found myself doing a lot of exercise and movement classes, one wine-tasting, and a lot of beading (which I had never done before). They even had the ropes course available, but I chose not to challenge myself in that way. And I was too late to sign up for any of the massage times! They do have a good variety of activities that you can do or not! I have also been to a mother-daughter weekend there, and that was really fun too. (Even more fun now that the Treetop Cabins are there!) My daughter just came back from science camp there last week, and we're looking forward to returning to mother-daughter camp in the fall.

Now, onto this week's topic: How do you prevent power problems?

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics has revealed that the number of those ages 18 and under, who visited the ER for swallowing batteries, has more than doubled in past two decades.

From 1990 to 2009, the number of such incidents increased by 1,484 reports, from 1,301 to 2,785.

The findings report that ingestion of small button batteries in children 5 and younger was 10.1 per 100,000 in 2009 and basically uncover a health concern due to the prevalence of electronic gadgets in our homes.

In my own home, my two children have several battery-operated toys, games, watches, calculators, flashlights, remote controls and other devices, especially some operated by the so-called "button batteries."

While my kids may not be at risk of actually swallowing these batteries or putting them in their ears, eyes or noses, I have friends with younger children who should pay attention to the report and take precautions.

Unfortunately, the report numbers were only for ER visits, so they can't provide the exact amount of children who die each year in our country and abroad from ingesting batteries.

Study author Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH, said other research has indicated that while most batteries will go through a child's system without harm, a trapped battery on a esophagus can discharge, damage surrounding tissue and even burn a hole, resulting in death and serious injury.

I also started thinking about pets, dogs and cats and even other animals that sometimes eat anything they see causing them health problems, ER visits to vet hospitals, large hospital bills and sadly the loss of our beloved companions.

So my question this week, particularly for parents, grandparents, babysitters tending to younger kids and responsible pet owners surrounded by this potential threat, is: "How do you prevent power problems?"

Tamara Archer May 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Seems like we're unceasingly tech challenged. Call me 'old fashioned' but I believe in keeping the techno toys and devices to the barest minimum or not at all... The kids most at risk are the ones that don't really understand the danger so it puts the adults in hyper vigilant mode for too many things. I'm not for gadget babysitting or sensory overload. Do it the old fashioned way and have them read, play with each other (what a concept), and otherwise be creative and active.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 10:15 PM
One thing I was always doing when my girls were young was opening their mouths and checking, kind of like the dentist does when he performs our oral exam at the office! Yuck! But I found pennies, beads, little rocks, papers and prevented many doctor's visits this way. That's my recommendation for those with babies and toddlers. Also, make sure the area where the batteries are located are securely shut! Check and recheck! As far as pets, same check as with babies, open their mouths and look! Hope this helps. Scary report!
Dyan Chan May 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I wish my household was as old fashioned as Tamara's, but unfortunately we have lots o' battery-operated toys and gadgets, such as remote controls, GPS devices, walkie-talkies ... Toy and game-makers are even taking old standards and adding batteries to them, which is not "new and improved" to me (who needs the Monopoly game to light up? a deck of cards is plenty fun without sound effects). When I was a kid, I really wanted some of those Little People figurines and playsets, so one of the first toys I bought my daughter was a Little People barn. When I took it out of the box, I noticed that I could insert a zillion batteries and the barn would moo and oink and cock-a-doodle-doo when the animals went to their pens. We chose to leave the barn battery-free and my daughter made her own barnyard sounds. :)
Dyan Chan May 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM
My little one did "swallow a money" when she was about 18 months old. Luckily, pennies are not as toxic as batteries, and the penny made its way out and now has a place of honor in her baby book ... Another little thing we get to worry about our kids swallowing is magnets! Constant vigilance!
Mckenna Smith May 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Jennifer, thank you for the warming. If it happens, Safe Kids USA says to go to the emergency room immediately and call the National Battery Ingestion hotline at 202-625-3333 for additional treatment information. And as you have, tell others about this threat and share these steps. http://www.safekids.org/our-work/news-press/press-releases/safe-kids-usa-and-energizer.html
Maaliea Wilbur May 17, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Thanks so much for the info Jennifer. With an almost 2 year old at home who loves to take things apart and open things up, these are concerns i need to be considering!
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
One thing my mom did when we were little is put hot pepper on everything she didn't want us ingesting. One idea might be to sprinkle the button batteries or small magnets with cajun pepper powder or chili pepper powder. That's what she tried also to get me to quick sucking my thumb!


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