Experts warn of potential holiday hazards for young children

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 4:07 PM MST
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(CNN) - As the holidays approach, so do dangers that come this time of year.

Among them are toys, batteries, lights and decorations that could be a hazard for young children.

To address the hazard issues, the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security held a hearing on Tuesday with advocates pushing Congress to act.

Reese Hamsmith’s mom described her as spunky, sassy and full-of-life, but in October 2020, the toddler swallowed a button battery.

After countless surgeries, intubation and sedation, she passed away at 18-months-old and now her mother , Trista Hamsmith, is raising awareness.

“Button batteries are a hidden hazard every day, but that exponentially rises during the holiday season,” Hamsmith said.

Speaking at a Senate subcommittee hearing, Hamsmith is also urging for congress to act.

“There is a lot of work to do in educating the public, but in addition to education, enforcement is also important.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal and Sen. Marsha Blackburn even introduced a bill named after Reese, that calls for stronger safety standards to help avoid these tragedies.

“As a mom and a grandmother, I am especially attuned to all of this,” said Blackburn.

In addition to button batteries, the hearing addressed magnets, balloons, lights and other hazards.

“Given how common this problem is this holiday season, consumers should be on the lookout for counterfeit when shopping for any product, especially if they’re opting to shop online,” Hannah Rhodes, consumer watchdog associate for U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said.

For Hamsmith, her daughter is a reminder that the hazards are always there, which is why Reese is her motivation to keep fighting for Congress to help.

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