Parents of boy who died after swallowing toy battery call for ban

Hughie McMahon fell ill at home in North Lanarkshire after swallowing a button-type battery.

Parents of boy who died after swallowing toy battery call for ban ITV

The parents of a one-year-old baby who died after swallowing a button battery have said they feel “robbed of their son” as they call for their outright ban.

Hughie McMahon was just 19-months-old when he died after swallowing the battery, his parents believe, came from his £16 VTech Swing and Sing monkey teddy.

The button battery turned his blood acidic and burned a coin-sized hole in his heart.

He was rushed to hospital on Christmas Eve from their home in Motherwell to University Hospital Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.

He was put on oxygen and transported to a specialist unit at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where it was discovered his blood had gone acidic and would not clot.

Dad Hugh McMahon and mum Christine McDonald were told there was nothing the doctors and nurses could do and they had to make the heart-wrenching decision to turn off life-support, after they were told the machines were the only thing keeping him alive.

Hughie died before reaching his second birthday.

His parents have now started a campaign to change the law to stop the tiny batteries from being sold and to stop other parents from going through this “life sentence”.

“He was a happy, healthy, beautiful, baby boy,” mum Christine told ITV News.

“His life is completely gone at 19-months-old. I’m angry there’s been no warning about the batteries. I’m angry I’ve been robbed of my son”.

Dad Hugh described the traumatic scenes of his son in hospital, it was like “he’d been in a serious car smash,” he said.

Instructions for the Swing and Sing Monkey on the VTech website say the battery compartment has a screw to hold three LR44 batteries in place and needs a screwdriver to open the cover.

The manual for the toy says “the use of new alkaline batteries is recommended for maximum performance”.

It carries a warning: “This product contains a button or coin cell battery. A swallowed button or coin cell battery can cause internal chemical burns in as little as two hours and lead to death.

“Dispose of used batteries immediately. Keep new and used batteries away from children. If you think batteries might have been swallowed or placed inside any part of the body, seek immediate medical attention.”

A VTech spokesperson said: “We are currently working with the relevant authorities to investigate this matter. Customer safety is of the utmost importance and we take these matters very seriously.”

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