It's a parent's worst nightmare, but when their child began to throw up blood it became a reality for Brian and Stephanie Florer. Their child was dying, and they wouldn't know why until it was too late.
Two-year-old Brianna Florer started with a light fever, and her parents didn't think it was much more than that until she turned blue and coughed up blood. Then panic set in. They called paramedics and rushed to the nearest hospital, where doctors made a heart-breaking discovery.
Brianna had swallowed a button battery. Smaller than a dime, these batteries are used in everything from TV remotes, small clocks...and children's toys.
When ingested the battery reacts with saliva to produce sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda. This substance is used in paper mills, as an industrial cleaner and to flush out drains. If it's swallowed it can burn through the esophagus and other organs causing serious injury - and often death.
“They believed the battery ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus,” Brianna's grandfather, Kent Vice, told the Daily Mail. "One minute she is perfect, and the next minute she is dead."
Sadly this tragic event is not an isolated occurrence. According to the Daily Mail nearly 12,000 cases of a child swallowing a battery between 2005 and 2014.
Dr. Kate Parkins is calling on the Department of Health to raise awareness of this hidden danger.
"Pre-school age children are most at risk because the batteries are shiny and the same size as (a treat)."
Experts say that ingesting these common devices is not always fatal, and the danger only happens when they battery gets stuck in the body.
That is no comfort to the Florer family though, who must now move on without their little girl.