Choking toddler burned throat on battery acid

Fhiza Leonard with daughter Amari Leonard who swallowed a battery
Fhiza Leonard with daughter Amari Leonard who swallowed a battery
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A TODDLER could face further surgery after narrowly avoiding death when she choked on a battery, which burned her throat.

Little Amari Leonard picked up the small lithium battery from the top of a toy unit before putting it in her mouth.

However, the 16-month-old, of Boldon Colliery, started to choke and had to be rushed to hospital.

Thankfully, medics at the Great North Children’s Hospital, in Newcastle, managed to dislodge the battery before it did any further damage.

Amari’s mum, Fhiza, 26, was panic-stricken after being called to say her daughter’s life was in danger.

The tot had been left with an adult friend while Fhiza and Amari’s dad, Paul, 27, were at work.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Fhiza, a teacher at Washington School.

“It’s a horrible feeling when you get a phone call like that.”

After getting to their daughter in South Tyneside General Hospital, an X-ray showed the object has become stuck in Amari’s oesophagus.

The decision was then made to transfer her to the Great North Children’s Hospital, where a team of surgeons managed to get the battery out during an operation.

Although Amari’s throat has been damaged, it is hoped that no further problems will arise and she will be able to lead a normal life.

The youngster spent a week in hospital after the ordeal but is now back with her mum and dad.

“She’s getting back to normal now, even though she’s on pureed food for the time being,” added Fhiza.

“But we are waiting for the next date she has to go back to hospital, to see if she needs surgery on her oesophagus.

“Hopefully, it will heal by itself, but if it doesn’t, she’ll need an operation.”

Fhiza is now warning other parents of the dangers that batteries and other small items pose to curious youngsters.

She says she has child-proofed the family home to prevent a repeat of the near tragedy.

“It’s only now that I’ve realised,” she said.

“I’ve seen so many people letting kids play with remote controls and other things in the past, but accidents like this need to be prevented.

“Before this happened with Amari, I didn’t realise how dangerous lithium batteries can be.

“Now, every morning I get up and do a sweep of the house to clear up loose change, keys, anything small and shiny, so that they are out of reach.”

Hany Gabra, consultant paediatric surgeon at the Great North Children’s Hospital, said: “Amari responded well to the treatment.

“We will now keep an eye on her, to make sure that there has been no long-term damage, such as a belated perforation or oesophageal stricture – a narrowing or tightening of the oesophagus that can cause swallowing difficulties.”