Maine girl’s fast reaction helps save brother who swallowed small battery

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A 3-year-old Maine boy is safe after his quick-thinking sister realized her sibling had swallowed a small battery and told their mother.

>> Read more trending news

Gretchen Larkin, of Biddeford, said her son was playing with an electronic drawing pad, WTMW reported. Larkin said her daughter told her the boy had swallowed something.

“She told me Colt swallowed a coin, and I was like, ‘Where did you find a coin?’” Larkin told the television station.

The “coin” was actually a battery, and Larkin called poison control.

“He said his throat hurt. He pointed to it,” Larkin told WTMW. “Then they asked me if I had any honey.”

Karen Simone, the director of the Northern New England Poison Control Center, told the television station that honey can help offset the burn caused by batteries that are accidentally consumed.

“Honey is a bit acidic, and it neutralizes things a bit and coats the battery a bit and that leads to protection of the esophagus,” Simone said.

Larkin followed the instructions of the poison control official and fed her son some honey. She took the boy to the hospital, and after an overnight stay and two surgeries, the battery was removed, WTMW reported.

“Having such anxiety for the 17 hours it happened, I was just so scared,” Larkin told the television station.

Simone said her office has had 93 cases of children under the age of 5 swallowing batteries between 2016 and 2020.

Larkin is grateful her son is recovering and glad her daughter had the presence of mind to sense the danger. She said she also learned a sobering lesson.

“I wouldn’t leave a kid unsupervised with a battery so easy to take out,” Larkin told WTMW. “I didn’t know my child could take that out and think to put that in their mouth.”