Household Batteries Can Cause Chemical Burns

Since 1988, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received over 100 reports of household batteries leaking, overheating, and rupturing. This permits corrosive liquid to leak, which can cause chemical burns. About one-third of the incidents involved injuries, a number of which were chemical burns to children from the leaking battery liquid. Household batteries can overheat and rupture in several ways:

1. Using the wrong charger or recharging the wrong battery. If you attempt to recharge a battery that is not designed to be recharged, the battery may overheat and rupture. Make sure you use the proper battery charger that is intended for the type and size of battery that you have. Do not attempt to use an automobile battery charger for recharging flashlight batteries, due to the risk of rupture.

2. Mixing batteries. If you use carbon-zinc and alkaline batteries in the same appliance, or if you mix freshly charged batteries with old batteries in the same appliance, there is a risk that the batteries may overheat and rupture. Always make certain to use completely new batteries that are of the same type when you replace batteries.

3. Placing batteries in the appliance backward. If a battery is placed so the positive end is where the negative end should be placed, the battery may overheat and rupture. Make a point of instructing children that they should not attempt to remove or install batteries. Instead, parents should install all batteries in toys and appliances.

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