LUBBOCK, Texas — With the holidays approaching, Trista Hamsmith said on Tuesday that she hopes parents will take extra precautions when it comes to batteries.
Two years ago this week, Hamsmith’s 18-month-old daughter Reese died after she swallowed a button battery.
“This time of year is particularly scary,” Hamsmith started. “I don’t think it’s fair to say ‘avoid specific toys.’ I think that we must be diligent in knowing how those toys are powered and that they are secure.”
She said button batteries can be found in lots of household items.
“You’re gonna find them, especially this time of year, in things like tea light candles, greeting cards, and they’re in children’s toothbrushes,” Reese’s mom explained. “They’re in your kitchen, in your scales, in your meat thermometers, in your children’s thermometers that go in their mouth.”
Since her daughter’s passing, the family has successfully passed Reese’s Law.
“What that entails is having more and better warning labels on our packages that are a little stronger in their wording [and] have safe enclosures,” she shared. “It could be a screw. It could be a push-pull mechanism, but something that makes it to where if a remote, for example, drops on the floor, it’s not going to bust open.”
If a family ends up in a situation similar to Reese’s, recognizing the warning signs could save a child’s life, her mom said.
“It mimics croup almost to a tee. So, one of the first things was the coughing; lots and lots of snot. Reese had lots of saliva.”
If you notice these symptoms in your child, Hamsmith implored, do not wait to get help.
“It is not a ‘wait 20 minutes’ situation. Minutes matter. Burns start within 20 minutes of being swallowed.”
Tell the doctors if you think your child swallowed a battery, so they get help right away, she said.
“All the rest of my batteries are in a childproof container, a Ziploc bag and high, high, high up on the counters to where the children can not reach them,” Hamsmith shared.
To learn more about Reese’s Law, click here.