LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock mother, Trista Hamsmith, testified Tuesday morning before a hearing of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. She advocated in favor of a mandatory screw or concealed compartment for “button” batteries inside consumer products.
Hamsmith’s daughter, Reese, died 47 days after swallowing a small battery.
Hamsmith testified that according to her research, the cost of a screw to hold in a small batter is 2 cents and the cost of remolding the plastic in a product to make use of the screw is 5 cents.
She told the CPSC that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 11 percent of button battery ingestions are properly reported.
“I’ve been told that 3,500 ingestions is not enough to warrant change,” Hamsmith said. But using the APA estimates, she believes that actual number is more than 30,000 per year.
“This what we know of,” Hamsmith said during the hearing, “Reese was not reported. In fact, I reported her after two months of her passing away.”
“Reese is one of those numbers and I want to tell you a little bit about her today.”
“She was a spunky spitfire,” Hamsmith said. “She spent 47 days fighting for her life.”
“After seven days, she had to be sedated. That was the last time we got to see her alive as her spunky self.”
“And it was all from the ingestion of a button battery,” Hamsmith said.
She and others testified that more and more consumer products use button batteries, so the risk goes up continually. One solution has been education, but she thinks it is not enough.
“We can educate the curiosity out of a small child,” Hamsmith said.
“My family’s future is forever changed. We’ll never get the opportunity to cheer for her on the sidelines of a basketball game. Her sister will never get to take her prom dress shopping. A husband will never get to take her down the aisle, and I will never get to hold her babies.”
“I want you to imagine this is your child … I want you to think about how you would feel when you hear the words ‘no pulse … I want you to know as best as you can what it feels like to have your life taken away in a second.”