Baby dies after swallowing battery from toy that ‘burnt hole in heart’

Hughie McMahon, one, ate a button battery that is thought to be from a singing teddy, which made his blood acidic and burned a coin-sized hole in his heart – leaving his parents to make the agonizing decision to shut off the machine

17-month-old Hugh McMahon
17-month-old Hugh McMahon

A baby boy died after swallowing a button battery, leaving him with catastrophic organ damage.

Hughie McMahon, one, ate a button battery that is thought to be from a singing teddy, and turned his blood acidic, burning a coin-sized hole in his heart.

Heartbroken parents Christine McDonald, 32, and Hugh McMahon, 29, say they held him in his arms as he passed away.

They said they later found a battery missing from his £16 VTech Swing & Sing monkey teddy.

The toy has a compartment that is sealed with a screw to hold the battery in.

Little Hughie’s parents say he ate the LR44 alkaline battery which got stuck in his throat and he was rushed to University Hospital Wishaw on December 24 from their home in Motherwell.

The type of battery – an LR44 alkaline battery – which got stuck in Hughie’s throat

The youngster was put on oxygen before being transported to a specialist unit at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

There it was found that his blood and gone “acidic” and would not clot and discovered a hole had burned in his heart – meaning his would never recover.

Christine and Hugh made the devastating decision to turn off the machines once it was clear it was the only thing keeping him alive.

Christine told The Scottish Sun : “It’s a living hell. I felt my boy leaving. There’s no words on this planet to describe so much pain.

Hugh died on Boxing Day after swallowing a button battery as local bikers escort the funeral cortege of the little lad


Stuart Vance/Reach Plc)

“Nobody warned us about button batteries. I didn’t even know what they were but they’re in everything. I was more worried about bleach, falling downstairs and bumping heads.”

The VTech Swing & Sing monkey teddy is described as being “specifically designed to promote sensory awareness.”

Instructions online say the battery compartment is kept shut with a screw and can only be opened with a screwdriver.

The product also adds this warning: “This product contains a button or coin cell battery. A swallowed button or coin cell battery can cause internal chemical burns in as little as two hours and lead to death.

Local motorcyclists escorted the funeral cortege of 17 month old Hugh McMahon from Motherwell Baptist Church.


Stuart Vance/Reach Plc)

“Dispose of used batteries immediately. Keep new and used batteries away from children. If you think batteries might have been swallowed or placed inside any part of the body, seek immediate medical attention.”

Christine and Hugh buried their son at Eastfield Cemetery in Cumbernauld in January.

The ceremony saw 300 bikers form a guard of honor for the tiny coffin as the dad said it was amazing to see the number of people come out and show their support.

The parents now want to change the law to stop tiny batteries from being sold.

Christine and Hugh buried their son at Eastfield Cemetery in Cumbernauld last month


Stuart Vance/Reach Plc)

Hugh added: “They’ve ruined our life and we want to make sure nobody else goes through what we have.”

Local SNP MSP Clare Adam says she will be raising the issue in Parliament after hearing the couple’s story.

The Mirror Online contacted VTech for a comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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