Alf suspects moves are afoot to have button batteries made bigger, so kids won’t stick them up their noses.
The batteries might no longer fit into the watches and other electronic equipment for which they are intended, after the regulators have done their thing. But kids with an urge to stick things up their snozzes need protecting from their stupid selves – eh?
Alf long ago had his swimming pool filled in, rather than face the expense of meeting the mollycoddling demands of the authorities to fence them against children with an inclination to wander into trouble.
These same mollycoddling authorities are on the case after a kid in Pahiatua – just up the road from where Alf is crafting this post – and are taking steps to protect kids with a nose for other forms of trouble.
Their interest is revealed in news at Stuff that –
When Rosanne Taylor’s four-year-old son Ryen came running into the house screaming in pain and clutching his nose, she had no idea he was in danger.
Assuming he had stuck a stone up his nostril, the Pahiatua mother of four tried to remove it with tweezers, but with her son in agony, she decided to take him to hospital.
Ryen had found a small button battery used in watches and other electronics on the ground and decided to play with it.
“He must have found the battery outside somewhere and, thinking it was a stone, he just shoved it up his nose.”
Dunno why he might want to stick stones up his nose.
But there you go. It takes all sorts.
In this case, we have a lad disposed to thrust small objects into that bit of his anatomy that enables him to breath, smell and taste.
Blocking your nasal passage (or any passage, come to think of it) is not a bright thing to do. The child is doomed to grow up to vote for Labour or the Greens.
Among other things, foreign objects are apt to impede the production of mucus, better known as snot. Did you know – by the way – that your nose and sinuses make about a litre of this stuff every day?
In this case, the lad at least will have learned that if he is going to stick things up there, he should not make it a battery as Ryan did.
Within hours it had begun to corrode, unleashing corrosive chemicals and burning Ryen, who was rushed into surgery.
Despite doctors’ best efforts, the substance ate through cartilage at the back of the nose, leaving Ryen with breathing difficulties.
News of this was bound to reach the authorities, and sure enough, they are sounding an alarm.
Mind you, it has taken them some time to do this. Perhaps they have been slowed down by public service cost-cutting or some such.
Three years on, the Social Development Ministry has issued a public warning about the batteries, which create an electrical current when they come into contact with bodily fluids.
Oh, and then we find the problem (if that’s what it is) has been around for years.
Hans Stegehuis, a Palmerston North ear, nose and throat specialist who co-authored a report about four battery incidents in the city last year, said the problem had been known for decades but seemed to fly under the radar.
“I think one of the things when we had these cases … is that most people had absolutely no awareness, except that they were a choking hazard,” he said.
Of course, sticking a battery up your nose is not the only way you can get into trouble.
Angus Shao, a Palmerston North registrar, has written a paper on the subject.
He has also worked in Auckland, apparently, but had the great good sense to get out.
He is quoted as saying he has seen about four cases where batteries have been swallowed.
In another two cases they had been shoved into the nose and into the ear canal.
Sometimes the batteries could stay there for days with no problem, but others turned serious within hours, which seemed to depend on the battery’s age and the charge they contained.
“I actually had to do quite a bit of education amongst the GP community in Auckland, as most of them didn’t actually know the danger of batteries in the cavity.”
Alf didn’t know, either, until now.
But he has never had to struggle with an impulse to stick batteries into his various cavities.