Parents warned of dangers of small objects

Midlothian Council’s Trading Standards team is supporting a UK government campaign to raise awareness among parents and carers about potential hazards to children associated with putting items such as button batteries, magnets and small toy parts in their mouths. 


The use of button batteries in objects such as TV remote controls, and strong magnets in some products, poses a particular threat if a child swallows them.

Dangerous if swallowed

Button batteries react with saliva to make caustic soda, which is highly corrosive. If a battery gets stuck in a child’s windpipe, it can burn causing internal bleeding and death. If a child swallows magnets, they can join powerfully together in the intestines or bowels. This squeezes the tissue and cuts off blood supply, which can quickly cause harm and lead to death.

Signs your child may have swallowed a battery or a magnet:

• If your child has swallowed magnets, they may have stomach pain, vomit, have a fever, or point to their throat or stomach.
• If your child has swallowed button batteries, they may be coughing, gagging, or drooling or pointing to their throat or stomach.

Act fast

Symptoms however may not always be obvious so it is important to act fast. Even if there are no symptoms take your child straight to A&E if you think they may have swallowed a battery or a magnet. Don’t let them eat or drink and don’t try to make them sick. Take the product packaging, toy or gadget with you if you can.


Midlothian Council are backing the #NilByMouth campaign and are asking parents to be aware of what they are buying, from whom they are buying, and to consider how they can keep their children safe from what seems like everyday items in their homes.

Be careful of small objects

Midlothian Trading Standards Officer John Watt said: 
“There are lots of objects at home that can cause harm to children if ingested. Small objects like batteries, magnets and other parts can slip out of products and be hard to see. If anyone has concerns about items such as toys, please contact Midlothian Trading Standards on 0131 271 3559.”

25 Apr 2022