Congress passes bill named for toddler who died after swallowing a battery

A bill designed to help protect young children by tightening safety requirements for button battery products has passed both the US House of Representatives and Senate and is now heading to President Joe Biden's desk.
The legislation, known as Reese's Law, is named for Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old girl from Lubbock, Texas, who died after swallowing a button battery, the small, round batteries found in many household appliances and toys.
After her death, Reese's mother, Trista Hamsmith, made it her mission to make sure no other parent had to experience the pain and loss of her family.
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"Reese's life was taken far too soon, but her legacy will live on through this bill so that no other family will suffer like ours," Hamsmith said in a statement after the bill passed the Senate. "We are grateful for the passage of this law to help protect all children and families from the hidden dangers of button batteries."
Reese was 16 months old in October 2020 when she developed cold-like symptoms, including a stuffy nose, Hamsmith told Good Morning America last year.
PHOTO: Reese Hamsmith is pictured here on her first day of school. (Trista Hamsmith/Reese's Purpose)
Hamsmith and her husband took their daughter to a pediatrician who, she said, suspected Reese had croup, an upper respiratory infection, and prescribed steroids.
Shortly thereafter, the family discovered that a button battery from a remote control in their home was missing. After checking online and finding that the symptoms of ingesting button batteries — including coughing, wheezing and chest discomfort — were consistent with Reese's, Hamsmith said she and her husband took Reese to the emergency room.
An x-ray confirmed a battery was lodged near the top of Reese's esophagus.
PHOTO: Reese Hamsmith, seen before her death, was hospitalized for two months before passing in December 2020. (Trista Hamsmith/Reese's Purpose)
After spending six weeks in the hospital and undergoing various surgeries and attempts to save her life, Reese died on December 17, 2020, according to Hamsmith.
Hamsmith calls button batteries a "hidden danger" because they're used in many items, including remote controls, hearing aids, thermometers, tea lights, battery-powered jewelry, greeting cards, key rings, children's toys and even toothbrushes.
After Reese's death, Hamsmith founded a non-profit organization, Reese's Purpose, to educate parents about button battery safety and to try to bring about changes related to the protection of button batteries in the packaging and the items that contain them.
"It literally takes a second [to take the button battery]," she told GMA last year. "You can put your kid down, turn around and pick up a piece of laundry, and it's done."
PHOTO: Trista Hamsmith holds her daughter Reese who passed away in December 2020. (Trista Hamsmith/Reese's Purpose)
Under the Reese Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission would be required to create safety standards, e.g. B. Requiring businesses to use product warning labels and child-resistant packaging, and meeting performance standards to ensure children under the age of 6 do not have access to button batteries told the Office of Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat and a major sponsor of the legislation.
"Children like Reese Hamsmith have tragically died or been seriously injured after ingesting this small but deadly hazard in common household items," said Marsha Blackburn, Senator from Tennessee and Blumenthal, a Republican and major sponsor of the bill, in a joint statement Explanation. "We're relieved that this sensible legislation has passed Congress and is on its way to President Biden's desk to become law so families can have more peace of mind about the safety of products in their homes."
MORE: Mom warns parents after toddler taken to hospital for swallowing battery
More than 3,500 people in the United States swallow button batteries each year, according to the National Capital Poison Center.
dr Kris Jatana, a professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital, said his research shows that the actual number of button battery intakes annually is actually much greater than that the incidents were going far from being reported.
In the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, ER visits for battery-related complaints in school-age children increased by 93% Research collaboration for medical professionals to track the severity of injuries, including from button batteries.
"I do think there is a lack of awareness among parents that these are serious dangers," he told GMA last year. "We can't heal the injuries that these batteries cause, so [we ask], 'How can we even prevent these injuries?'"
MORE: My daughter died after swallowing a battery. Here's what I want parents to know
Here are three tips from Jatana and Hamsmith for preventing and treating button battery swallowing injuries.
1. Keep an inventory of button batteries in your home: Because the symptoms of button battery ingestion can mimic the symptoms of other illnesses in children, as Reese did, both Hamsmith and Jatana say the most important thing is for parents and caregivers is always be aware and know that all button batteries are present in their home.
Hamsmith advises caregivers to keep products containing button batteries not only out of reach but also out of sight of children, especially children under the age of 6 who are at greatest risk of swallowing a foreign object.
Jatana said not only should she know where the button batteries are in your home, but she should also regularly check all electronic devices to make sure the battery compartment is safe.
2. Know the Symptoms: Symptoms of swallowing a button battery can include fever, reluctance to eat or drink, irritability, wheezing, difficulty breathing, cough, sore throat, choking, choking, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting, according to a button battery source website created by Jatana and Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Children can also put a button battery in their nose or ear, which can be dangerous. Symptoms to look out for include irritability, pain or swelling around the ears or nose, fever, and fluid discharge or bleeding from the ears or nose, according to Jatana.
Children who swallow button batteries may also show no symptoms at all, so parents and caregivers should know where button batteries are in their home at all times, Jatana added.
Check out this post on Instagram
A post by Reese Hamsmith (@reesespurpose)
3. Act quickly: According to Jatana, a serious esophageal injury can occur within two hours of a child swallowing a button battery, before symptoms even appear.
"The clock is ticking from the moment the battery is in the esophagus," he said.
If a child swallows a button battery, call for help immediately, either by calling 911 or the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Parents and caregivers can also use honey to treat the child while awaiting medical attention. Experts at the National Capital Poison Center recommend giving children 10 milliliters of honey every 10 minutes for ages 12 months and older.
Jatana stressed not to delay going to the emergency room and said seeking professional medical help should be a top priority.
Congress passes legislation named after a toddler who died after swallowing a battery, originally appearing on goodmorningamerica.com

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