Child swallows battery, spends 16 days in hospital | Family warns others to keep eye on children

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A Twin Falls family wants to encourage people to be more aware of their kids and what the're doing after a close call with their son.

Savannah Hawkins noticed one day more than two weeks ago that her 3-year-old son was not acting the same.

"All of a sudden we noticed Sam started acting funny. He wouldn't eat food, he wouldn't swallow," Hawkins explained.

She said she thought he was just sick, or maybe even had strep throat. They waited until the next day to take him to the doctors, thinking it might have just been pneumonia since he's had a history.

"They decided to do an x-ray of his chest area to rule out pneumonia. We were sitting in the ER and a doctor came in and was like 'When did he swallow this battery?'" She continued. "Both us, my husband and I were just floored and were like 'What, he swallowed a battery?' We had no idea."

She said they were in the hospital for 16 days in Boise.

"It was burned all the way around his esophagus," she explained.

Hawkins said doctors had to do MRIs, CT scans, swallow studies and eventually had to put in a central line in his chest.

"They were putting so many IVs and they had to do IV nutrition as well because he couldn't eat anything, because they didn't want anything going down that esophagus," she explained.

After her incident, she wants parents to know that anything can happen quickly, especially as the holidays come up and kids are receiving many toys with small pieces.

"They're so accessible for these kids that that's our big concern, is making sure that parents know of these risks that no one else has to do this as well," she paused. "Because it's hard."

Coordinator with Safe Kids Jennifer Westendorf said there is a way to measure if an object is small enough at home.

"If it's small enough to fit into that," she said holding up a toilet paper tube, "it's small enough to go down their throat."

According to Westendorf, in 2015, more than 2,800 children were seen in the emergency room after swallowing batteries.

"We recommend that if a parent suspects that a child has swallowed a battery, or they know for a fact they swallowed a battery, they need to seek medical attention immediately," she said.

Along with calling 911, she said to not let the child eat anything or make them throw it up.

After more than two weeks in the hospital, Hawkins said Sam is home and that he will be fine.

"More than ever, we're thankful for the doctors, for him, and for his life and this experience because he's here," she expressed.

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