Healthwise: Lubbock woman celebrates child safety victory

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 2:56 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Tonight, a bittersweet victory for one Lubbock woman who has been campaigning for this change since her daughter’s death in 2020.

18-month-old Reese Hamsmith ended up in the hospital after swallowing a button battery that came loose from a remote control.             

That battery burned through her esophagus. After more than 6 weeks in the hospital, Reese died.  Since then, her mother, Trista, has campaigned for federal safety requirements to keep button batteries away from small children.                       

It was a positive step forward with the help of Congressman Jodey Arrington when Reese’s Law was passed, forcing the CPSC to establish safety standards for button batteries including warning labels.

However, there still some loopholes.

“We also had batteries coming in from China and places like that, that had like this simple, cardboard, thin background,” Trista said. 

Today, the CPSC went all the way with a timeline to help reduce that issue among others. The Commissioners voted today to make it mandatory within 6 months that button batteries be encased in child protective compartments before any of those products become available to the public. This, because one Lubbock woman took her family’s personal tragedy to Capitol Jill. 

Trista says, “Now I realize my calling is child safety. And Reese’s calling is child safety. I can’t imagine how proud Reese is today. I mean so proud, so proud.” 

The CPSC says in a recent 10 year period, it became aware of 27 deaths including Reese along with more than 54,000 emergencies due to the swallowing of a button battery. 

Trista says this tip from Poison Control came after Reese’s death but she is quick to share it with others:  If a child over 12 months swallows a button battery, give honey on the way to the Emergeency Room to coat the battery and hopefully slow the damage.