Summer Steer was 4 years old when she died after swallowing a button-style lithium battery. The Queensland, Australia, toddler was taken to hospital three times on the day of her death, June 30, 2013.
At an inquest which started on July 6, Summer’s mother, Andrea Shoesmith, testified that she took her daughter to the family doctor on June 13 and 17 with a sore stomach, high temperature and black bowel movements.
The day Summer died she had a nose bleed and began vomiting blood, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Her first visit to the hospital that day lasted just 15 minutes — the doctor allegedly told Shoesmith it was common for people to who swallowed blood from a nose bleed to fall ill.
As the family went to leave the hospital, Summer vomited again and the blood changed from dark red to bright red. She was placed under observation for four hours until the doctor assured Shoesmith it was safe to take her home.
Summer slept at the family’s home for an hour before she began vomiting blood again and collapsed. She was taken to Noosa Hospital once again, but she was later flown to a different facility, where she had a heart attack and died.
Summer was the first child in Australia to die after swallowing a lithium battery, the Mirror reported.
Kidsafe Queensland Chief Executive Susan Teerds said she hopes Summer’s death will raise public awareness of the dangers of batteries. "If you've got lithium button batteries, any of these small batteries in your home, it's like having a loaded gun, seriously that's how deadly they are," she said.
"They're in so many products, you know, every remote control is going towards thin and slim and that requires the flat button-type batteries. If they're in toys, they have to be in screwed-down battery compartments, but other products that are accessible to children, there's no regulation that they have to be screwed down."
She fears Summer’s death won’t be the last. "I think it will exceed drowning in the number of children unfortunately dying," she added.
Image Credit: Supplied via Mirror