Girl, 2, died after swallowing battery from a remote control

Girl, 2, died after swallowing batteries ‘no bigger than a 5p piece’ from a remote control, inquest hears

  • Harper-Lee Farnthorpe, 2, died within hours of ingesting remote control battery
  • Staffordshire’s safeguarding children board issued urgent warning to parents
  • The two-year-old was rushed to hospital after falling ill but sadly died in surgery
  • Mother found a remote control which was missing battery when she went home 

Parents are being warned about the dangers of button batteries after the death of a two-year-old girl.

Harper-Lee Farnthorpe passed away at the Royal Stoke University Hospital within hours of swallowing one of the batteries.

An inquest into her death, which ruled it an accident, heard that the two-year-old was rushed to hospital after falling ill at her home but died while surgeons operated to save her life.

Medics told devastated mother Stacey Nicklin that she may have swallowed a button battery which can be no bigger than 5p pieces. 

Ms Nicklin, from Abbey Hulton, discovered a remote control with a missing button battery in her daughter’s bedroom following the May 23 tragedy.

A warning has been issued to parents after the death of two-year-old Harper-Lee Farnthorpe (pictured) who lost her life within hours of ingesting a button battery from a remote control

Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board has issued an urgent warning to parents in it’s latest edition of its child death prevention newsletter. It refers to a ‘young child from Staffordshire’.

It states: ‘Button batteries power everyday objects like car key fobs, remote controls and children’s toys.

‘But did you know that if they are swallowed they can badly injure, or even kill a child?

‘Batteries react with saliva and if a child swallows a button battery it can burn holes and cause internal bleeding and even death. 

Symptoms that may indicate a child has swallowed a battery include coughing or drooling as well as pointing to their throat or tummy and children should be taken to hospital immediately

Step to take to keep your child safe from button batteries 

Store spare batteries securely, out of reach

Know which toys or gadgets use button batteries, check your home

Get rid of ‘dead’ button batteries immediately – they still have enough power to harm children

Teach older children the dangers – why they shouldn’t play with them or give them to younger children

Place strong tape over the battery compartment on remote controls.

‘Tragically, a young child in Staffordshire has recently died from ingesting a button battery.

‘If you think your child has swallowed a battery then taken them straight to the nearest A&E department or call 999 for an ambulance.

‘The symptoms may not be obvious.Your child might be coughing, gagging or drooling, or pointing to their throat or tummy.

‘Unclear or fluctuating symptoms mean it is important to be vigilant. Trust your instincts and act fast even if there are no symptoms.’ 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been informed of the tragedy.

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: ‘This was a tragic accident involving a young child and our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.

‘We will be working closely with all our partners to raise awareness of the dangers of button batteries to try to prevent this happening again.’

ROSPA is aware of a number of deaths and some serious injuries

involving children who have swallowed button batteries in the UK.

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