Studies in animals have shown that coating a button battery in honey can slow down the reaction of the battery inside the animal’s food pipe. This raises the question of whether to give a child honey if they accidentally swallow a button battery.

The answer isn’t straightforward. Here’s why:

  • It takes a lot of honey to slow the reaction – 2 spoonfuls every 10 minutes. Which may not be possible if your child is not willing to eat anything or is being sick.
  • Giving this much honey may make your child sick – which wouldn’t be helpful in this situation.
  • If your child needs general anaesthetic to remove the battery, it’s not ideal if they’ve had anything to eat or drink.
  • Honey shouldn’t be given to children under 1.
  • If you don’t have runny honey to hand, a few minutes delay trying to find honey and get your child to take it means delay getting to emergency doctors who can help.

So, the advice from doctors in the UK is, unless you have a long distance to the nearest A&E, getting to hospital as quickly as possible is the number one priority.

Learn what to do in an emergency

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