Australian child dies after eating lithium battery

July 1, 2013 at 10:16 AM

NOOSAVILLE, Australia, July 1 (UPI) -- A 4-year-old Australian girl died after swallowing a lithium battery, officials said.

The girl was brought to a hospital in Australia's Queensland state on Sunday with stomach bleeding, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

She was then transferred to another hospital, where she died.

Susan Teerds from Kidsafe Queensland said parents must be vigilant in keeping lithium batteries, which are small and circular, away from their children.

"When a child swallows a battery it often gets caught in the oesophagus, around the voice box. Once it's been lodged, within an hour, it will start to burn a hole," Teerds said. "The saliva actually starts a chemical reaction and burns a hole through the oesophagus and can keep burning a hole into the aorta, through to the spine and whatever else is there."

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