Congress passed a bipartisan bill named after a toddler who died after taking a battery. Reese’s Law, named after Reese Hamsmith, who passed away last year at 18 months, has strengthened safety standards for coin cell battery products commonly found in everyday items.
Senator Martha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, and Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, Introduced legislation nicknamed Reese’s Law in the Senate earlier this year.
“We are relieved that this common-sense legislation has passed Congress and is being brought to President Biden’s desk to become law so families can have more peace of mind about the safety of products in their homes,” the pair said in a statement. Press release The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday.
In 2020, Hamsmith swallowed a small, flat battery called a coin cell or button cell, which is commonly found in household items such as cameras, calculators, glitter clothing and even greeting cards. “If swallowed, these batteries present a serious hazard to young children and infants and can result in serious injury, severe internal burns, and even death,” the release reads.
About a month later, she died after a long hospital stay.
The legislation would set performance standards, require protection of these batteries, require warning labels, and require warning labels to clearly identify hazards of ingestion, among other things.
Reese’s mother, Trista Hamsmith, said in a statement the legislation would undoubtedly save lives. “I often talk about the plaque in Reese’s ward that says: ‘He has a plan, I have a purpose.’ Reese’s life was taken too soon, but her legacy will live on through this law so other families can would not suffer like we did,” she said.
Hamsmith announced the introduction of the bill at the Capitol in September 2021. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan group of representatives and passed the House earlier this year.
After the death of his daughter, Hamsmith founded Reese’s purpose, an organization that advocates for the protection of children from safety hazards and threats.she created a change.org A petition to raise awareness of the issue and legislation, urging people to call their representatives and ask them to pass the bill.
Coin cells, also known as lithium batteries, get stuck in the throat when swallowed, and the saliva triggers an electrical current that causes a chemical reaction. The esophagus can be severely burned in as little as two hours and can lead to death, according to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP.
If you suspect your child has swallowed a coin cell battery, CHOP recommends looking for signs of drooling, decreased eating or drinking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, vomiting, chest pain or discomfort, abdominal pain, blood in saliva and stool, and sudden crying.
If you think your child has swallowed the battery, take it to the emergency room right away.
CHOP says do not give your child anything to eat or drink, and do not give your child any medication before having a bowel movement or vomiting. Milk will not prevent further damage.
“Even if you see your child swallowing a battery, don’t try the Heimlich maneuver,” they advise. “The battery could get stuck in another area or change its position and increase the risk of injury.”
To prevent this, CHOP said, parents should know where these batteries are located in the home, keep them out of the reach of children, and spread information about the risks.