Paramedic Reveals How Honey Can Save a Child's Life If They Swallow Deadly Button Battery

A paramedic has revealed how honey could potentially save your child's life, if they've swallowed a deadly button battery.

Mom, Nikki Jurcutz, regularly shares parenting tips to social media detailing what to do if your child is choking, they have a fever or how to administer medicine to fussy kids.

Jurcutz, the CEO of Tiny Hearts Education, a site which runs baby first aid and birth courses, recently shared a stomach-churning video to Instagram.

The mom, based in Australia, revealed what to do if you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, described as a "powerful lithium coin cell" by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).

These batteries are lethal to children if swallowed, with the CAPT noting: "Button batteries...can badly hurt or kill a small child if they swallow one and it gets stuck in their food pipe."

They're often found in items such as toys, remotes, gaming headsets, bathroom scales, and novelty items such as flashing wands and singing cards.

Jurcutz said: "I was asked recently if there was any truth to giving honey if you suspect your child had swallowed a button battery. I did some research and found it's in fact the first aid treatment guideline in some countries, so I absolutely had to test it myself.

"I purchased two button batteries, and placed one in each sausage. I added 10 milliliters of honey every 10 minutes to one sausage, and left the other one alone. I left this for two hours, and then I removed each of the button batteries from each sausage."

She shares time-lapse footage, which shows the meat filled with honey bubbling and spewing liquid. But surprisingly, Jurcutz continued: "With the first one that I was applying the honey to, you can see that it has a small amount of damage. But look at this one which had no honey. The damage is significantly worse.

"If I ever suspect my kids have swallowed a button battery, I'll definitely be reaching for the honey."

The science behind this was explored in a study using pigs, published in the Laryngoscope journal in 2018. Anfang RR et al's study found similar results as they compared the effects of apple juice, orange juice, Gatorade, Powerade, pure honey, pure maple syrup, and Carafate against 3V lithium button batteries.

Screengrab from @tinyheartseducation button battery video.
Screengrab from @tinyheartseducation button battery video. Mom and paramedic demonstrated how honey can help if your child swallows a deadly button battery using two sausages. @tinyheartseducation

"Our recommendation would be for parents and caregivers to give honey at regular intervals before a child is able to reach a hospital, while clinicians in a hospital setting can use sucralfate before removing the battery," said co-principal investigator Ian N. Jacobs, M.D., director of the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), AAPpublications reported.

Explaining more about her own experiment, Jurcutz captioned the Instagram video: "Button Battery + Honey. Today I did an experiment to test if adding honey to a button battery would reduce the damage caused.

"The results are mind blowing. In some countries this is normal first aid treatment—10 milliliter of honey, every 10 minutes on the way to hospital (>1yr).

"This should be introduced in Australia!!! I know if I ever suspected one of my kids had swallowed a button battery, I'd be reaching for the honey straight away!

"Tag away, this could significantly reduce the damage caused to a little one's oesophagus and even save a life."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the most common cause of battery-related injuries among children under 13 came from "button batteries, especially those >20 millimeters in diameter (coin size), which can lodge in the esophagus, leading to serious complications or death."

Screengrab from @tinyheartseducation button battery video.
A screengrab from @tinyheartseducation button battery video. Mom Nikki Jurcutz placed a button battery inside two sausages, and poured honey over one. @tinyheartseducation

Statistics collected between 1997-2010 revealed 40,400 children were treated in hospital for button battery-related injuries. The CDC report continued: "Nearly three quarters of the injuries involved children aged under 4 years; 10 percent required hospitalization. Moreover, a 2.5-fold increase in these cases was observed from 1998 to 2010. 14 battery-related fatalities were identified, all in children aged under 4 years. Button batteries were confirmed to be involved in 12 of the 14 cases."

In the U.K, a 2-year-old girl, named Harper-Lee Fanthorpe, died on May 23 after swallowing batteries from a remote control, an inquest into her death on June 14 heard.

Jurcutz's video struck a chord with parents after being uploaded to TikTok on Wednesday, amassing nearly two million views.

Fellow moms thanked her for sharing the tip, with Shopbabymumma admitting: "Oh wow, I've never heard of this before."

Amandaktink commented: "Wow, that's crazy! Thanks for sharing."

And Kellymartinsleepconsultant added: "Holy moly that's insane."