What a button battery can do to your child's insides if they swallow it.

Button batteries are in almost everything - toys, birthday cards, watches. But if a child swallows one of these tiny batteries it can have disastrous consequences. 

An Australian mum has demonstrated the terrifying effects a button battery can have if swallowed, by placing one inside a raw chicken breast and taking a series of time lapse photographs.

Sarah Hunstead told Kidspot she was inspired to do her sobering photo-shoot after a trip to the supermarket with her daughter.

"We were walking down the baby products aisle and she stopped and picked up a small object off the shelf where the baby toys were," said Hunstead.

"My daughter said 'Look Mum! A button battery! That's so dangerous!' Looking around I saw an opened packet on the shelf that obviously a shopper had left there - did they not understand how incredibly dangerous these items are?"

Lithium batteries can cause burning of internal organs such as the intestines which lead to internal bleeding.

Hunstead and her daughter purchased the batteries, as well as a packet of chicken breasts and went home to experiment.

She inserted a battery into the chicken and photographed it periodically to show the damage caused after 10 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour and four hours. The results are truly frightening.

A burn to chicken breast after 10 minutes
A burn to chicken breast after 10 minutes Photo credit: Sarah Hunstead
Half an hour
Half an hour Photo credit: Sarah Hunstead

After 10 minutes, burning is visible in the flesh of the chicken. By four hours, the damage would be fatal to a child.

The damage after 4 hours
The damage after 4 hours Photo credit: Sarah Hunstead

According to The Battery Controlled, when a lithium battery is swallowed, saliva triggers an electrical current. This then causes a chemical reaction which can severely burn the oesophagus within two hours.

If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, take them to an emergency department immediately and do not let your child eat or drink anything until after an x-ray.

Do not induce vomiting.

Around 60 children are hospitalised each year due to swallowing batteries or getting them stuck in their noses.