A 2-year-old British girl died after she swallowed a battery from a remote control that burned a hole in her esophagus – and her heartbroken mother is warning parents of the danger.
Harper-Lee Fanthorpe died at a hospital in Stoke-on-Trent in May after swallowing the battery, whose acid seared through her throat and a major artery, the Sun reported.
Devastated mom Stacey Nicklin broke down in tears as she recalled Harper-Lee’s final words: “Mummy, I need you!”
She told BBC Breakfast she didn’t realize the dangers and was desperate to raise awareness to other parents after the tragedy.
Nicklin said she was unaware her daughter had swallowed anything before finding a remote control with a missing battery in her bedroom.
“It’s about awareness. If I can save one child or a hundred, then I’ve promised my baby I’ve done what I’ve done,” she told the outlet “They need to be more secure. Parents need to check. Just check, check, check.”
The tragic tot was being looked after by her older sister, Jamie-Leigh Nicklin-Hulme, who described the moment her head “suddenly went backward” before she started to throw up blood.
“She wasn’t responding. She just went very wheezy, her eyes just closed and she couldn’t talk back to me, like she wasn’t there,” she said. “It doesn’t feel real, it feels like a dream.”
Harper-Lee was rushed to Royal Stoke University Hospital, where she received a blood transfusion before undergoing surgery.
“I told her I loved her and that’s the last time I saw her,” Nicklin said. “Halfway through her surgery, the surgeon come out and told me that they think she’s swallowed a button battery.”
Harper-Lee died after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia during surgery, the Sun reported. An inquest ruled that her death was accidental.
Nicklin said she later found the remote control in her daughter’s bedroom missing the button battery that “wasn’t even secure, it just slid out.”
“We didn’t know the dangers of it. Toys, they’re in everything, children’s books. I had to go and tell my girls that their baby sister had passed away,” the grieving mother said, crying.
“She’s left a very big hole. These five weeks have been absolute torture, I feel so lost. The house is just so quiet,” she added.
North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley said: “There is a very clear concern about this in public health. It has affected lots of children.”
Dr. Anna Pigott, a consulting pediatrician at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, said there have been several cases of deaths or very serious injuries from children swallowing batteries in the UK.
Parents should be aware of symptoms such as drooling and coughing up blood, Pigott told the BBC.
In an urgent warning, the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board said parents should take their kids to the hospital or call emergency services if they think they have swallowed a battery.
The Stoke-on-Trent City Council said it was a “tragic accident” and that it would be working to raise awareness of the dangers of such batteries.