Cracker Barrel honey helps girl, 3, who swallowed battery

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 2:45 AM CDT
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BARBERTON, Ohio (WEWS) - An Ohio mother is sharing how honey helped her 3-year-old daughter after she swallowed a button battery from inside her Barbie doll.

Katie Jacobsen’s Aug. 25 birthday was one she’ll never forget. The mom of eight ordered dinner from Cracker Barrel to eat at home when her 3-year-old daughter Maggie told her she swallowed something shiny.

The Barbie doll Maggie was playing with had a damaged battery compartment that opened with at least one button battery inside.

Maggie Jacobsen, 3, is expected to be OK after she swallowed a button battery that came from...
Maggie Jacobsen, 3, is expected to be OK after she swallowed a button battery that came from inside her Barbie doll's damaged battery compartment.(Source: Family photos, WEWS via CNN)

“I saw the Barbie doll that she’d been playing with, and she’d been playing with my 8-year-old son. They were kind of sitting around the coffee table together, and his eyes got real big. And he looked at me, and he said, ‘I just took one of those out,’” Jacobsen said.

Like any mom, Jacobsen started to panic, getting ready to take Maggie to the hospital, when her 16-year-old daughter spoke up.

“I can hear her in the background saying, ‘Mom, it says we have to give her honey’… My husband said, ‘Oh, we’ve got packets of honey on the table right here,’” Jacobsen said.

The Cracker Barrel the family ordered that night came with biscuits and lots and lots of honey.

“So, I sat in the back with her by her car seat, and I just kept giving her – we took the extra packets with us – and I just kept giving her more packets of honey on the way,” Jacobsen said.

At the hospital, the X-rays confirmed that Maggie did ingest a battery, but luckily, it wasn’t stuck in her esophagus but, instead, her stomach.

Dr. Joseph Iocono, a pediatric general thoracic surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital, said that the Jacobsens did everything right.

“They were able to get the honey in. Not only did the honey stop the conduction or slow the conduction of the battery but also kind of grease a little bit to pass through,” he said.

Iocono says he unfortunately sees cases like Maggie’s all the time and that time is of the essence when a child swallows a battery.

“It can erode through the first layer of the esophagus, the mucosa, within a couple of hours,” he said.

He adds that it’s important to get a child who has swallowed a battery to the hospital for an X-ray as soon as possible, but if they are a year or older, honey can help slow down the erosion process.

“If you have honey in the house, you can give them a teaspoon, couple of teaspoons, every 10 to 20 minutes,” Iocono said.

Maggie was admitted to the hospital overnight for testing, but the battery passed even further down her intestine, where it’s not so much of a threat. So, she was released.

Jacobsen, who was suffering from a mother’s guilt, put it aside and shared her story to Facebook in hopes of helping someone else.

“I have lots of friends who have young kids, and I just thought I just wanted to tell them and I’m just willing to suffer a little bit of embarrassment to say, ‘Hey, if this ever happens to you, this is what you should do,’” she said.

New data released in a report from the academic journal “Pediatrics” shows that kids swallowing batteries appears to be a growing problem in the United States.

Twice as many battery-related emergency room visits were reported from 2010 to 2019 when compared with the decade before, with the majority of those for kids less than 5.

If a child is suspected of swallowing a battery, they should be taken to a medical professional as soon as possible.