Button battery scare at Walgreens for Phoenix mom who wants change in stores

Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 13:19:50-04

A big scare for a Valley mom at a Phoenix Walgreens when she feared her children may have swallowed hearing aid batteries, hung on one of the lowest shelves in the store.

She rushed her children to the emergency room for x-rays. Fortunately, her children were unharmed, but now she is on a mission to push all stores to make changes.

Erin Cooper took her two children, Kennedy and Mason, down the school supply aisle at Walgreens so she could buy pens.

“Both of my children were seated and strapped into their stroller,” Cooper said. 

Cooper looked away for a moment when her 2-year-old daughter Kennedy managed to grab the closest thing hanging low on the shelf.

“There were all of these hearing aid batteries packages opened,” she said. “They literally littered her stroller, they were all over the floor.”

Cooper panicked, thinking either of her kids could have swallowed a battery. She quickly started counting.

“We found every single one, but one,” she said. 

Cooper had just recently read an article about the dangers with kids with button and hearing aid batteries. She knew that they can get caught in the esophagus and burn through, even become deadly. Time was of the essence and she rushed her kids to the emergency room.

“I was so lucky that neither of my children swallowed the battery,” she said. 

After paying $500 for the x-rays, anger set in. She questioned why the batteries were hanging right next to the kid-friendly school supply area. 

“It goes almost down to floor level, which is the perfect height for curious children,” she said. 

Cooper reached out to the manager who said corporate is in charge of the floor plan, which varies from store to store.

ABC15 also reached out to Walgreens, the business sent a statement that said: “This was an unusual occurrence and we are glad the child is OK.”

Now Cooper hopes to keep pushing all stores to keep batteries in a safer place and also educate parents about the dangers of them. 

“If I can prevent just one parent from going through what happened to me, then all of this will be worth it,” she said. 

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, about 3,500 people swallow button batteries each year. Most of those impacted are young children and the numbers are only rising.