Life will never be the same for Brian and Stephanie Florer. While they were out at work, they left their beloved daughter, Brianna, in the care of her grandfather, Kent Vice. He often cared for the 2-year-old girl and showed her the love any grandchild would appreciate. The two shared a special bond that only a granddaughter and her grandfather can share. Despite being in the care of capable grandpa, Brianna found the one thing that could hurt her – and she accidentally swallowed it.
Now Grandpa Kent is speaking up to alert other parents and caretakers about the dangers of button batteries. These tiny, seemingly innocuous, batteries are incredibly dangerous when swallowed as they can dissolve the flesh inside the human esophagus.
In the two years since Brianna celebrated her last Christmas, her family hopes that this little girl’s story can help save the lives of other innocent children who like playing with their toys that happen to require button batteries.
While celebrating Christmas at her family’s rural estate in Delaware County, Oklahoma, she was eager to have time with grandpa.
For a few days, Brianna had been running a low fever. But since most children are sick in the wintertime, her parents ignored it. But when her face turned blue, and the toddler started to vomit blood, her family knew that this was not a typical illness. Something was severely wrong with their beloved Brianna.
By the time, Brianna had been rushed to the emergency room. Doctors regretfully informed the family that they were helpless to do anything to save the child. They could not perform surgery as the button battery had already burned a hole through the soft tissue of Brianna’s esophagus. And the bleeding was too intense for them to hope to save her.
Somehow the toddler had swallowed a button battery. And as any parent or grandparent knows, it is challenging to keep track of everything little ones grab and put in their mouth – they just grab at everything they can within reach.
Unfortunately, symptoms did not start to appear until it was too late. Her family didn’t think twice about the low fever and just treated her with the usual Tylenol dosage. But doctors estimated that the button battery had been inside Brianna’s system for at least six days by the time she was rushed to the emergency room with a hole burned through her internal tissue.
“One minute she is perfect, and the next minute she is dead,” Vice said. “We had no idea when she swallowed it [the battery].”
New Year’s Day 2016 was dedicated to preparations for burying Brianna.
Because many children’s toys and hearing aids use button batteries, the danger of this situation goes up around Christmas time. As many children open gifts with these tiny silver death circles, families need to know the risks children face.
Gifts under the tree can be deadly. Parents need to protect their little ones, especially when these deadly-when-swallowed button batteries power presents.
Always keep your children away from loose batteries. It could save their life.