REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - As children open Christmas presents, a Redondo Beach couple is warning other parents about toy batteries. Their daughter, Evie, is finally home in what they’re calling 'a Christmas miracle' after the one-and-a-half-year-old swallowed a lithium "button" battery.
"I was on my knees begging for God to take my life instead," says Evie’s dad, Jason Kientz. "It was the hardest couple of weeks I’ve ever experienced."
For a month, little Evie was in the hospital, spending a week in the Intensive Care Unit, with an eroded esophagus. On December 1st, she was watching her four-year-old sister play with last year’s Christmas present, a drawing pad from Amazon with more than 3,000 highly-rated reviews when their parents say the toy dropped and the battery cartridge popped out. They quickly realized Evie had swallowed the battery and called paramedics.
"There really wasn’t an urgency, or you need to get this kid to the hospital right now," says Evie’s mom, Kristin. "I did a quick Google search and right up there at the top was, 'a battery can burn through a child’s esophagus in two hours,' so I just took her as quickly as I could."
Her parents say the battery cooked Evie’s esophagus and doctors were not sure if she was going to make it.
"We’ve become aware of three other children just during the time that Evie’s been in the hospital that is experiencing the same problem and honestly some of them are in a much worse place because the batteries were in there longer," says Jason.
Now with anything potentially dangerous in a lockbox, Evie’s parents point out other household items with batteries like toys, remote controls, key fobs, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, cameras, singing greeting cards, and children’s books, some with batteries that are more secured than others, all in a warning as kids open presents, so other parents don’t have to live out a similar worst nightmare.
Researchers report about 2,500 children swallow a battery every year. Poison control advises safely storing batteries, securing battery compartments with strong tape, and only purchasing items that require a screwdriver or tool to access the batteries.