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Bill named after Texas girl who died after swallowing button battery

Legislation intended to prevent deadly button battery ingestion
Reese Hamsmith died after swallowing a battery from a remote.
Reese Hamsmith died after swallowing a battery from a remote.(Submitted Photo/KCBD)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:58 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Congressman Jodey Arrington joined with Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly in introducing ‘Reese’s Law,’ safety legislation intended to help prevent deadly button battery ingestion.

Lubbock toddler Reese Hamsmith passed away in December 2020 after swallowing a small button battery. These batteries can cause burns to a child’s esophagus or stomach when ingested, leading to serious medical issues and death.

Reese was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where doctors tried to repair the burns, but Reese died six weeks after the battery was removed. Reese’s mother, Trista, began raising awareness of the dangers, starting a Change.org petition that has so far garnered more than 85,000 signatures to pass legislation titled “Reese’s Law.”

Reese’s Law requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission to develop stronger safety standards for button batteries within one-year, including warning labels and child resistant packaging on button batteries.

“As a parent, I cannot imagine the heartbreak that the Hamsmith family has endured since losing baby Reese last December,” said Rep. Arrington. “As a Member of Congress, I believe the most important responsibility of our government is the safety and security of our citizens.

“Each year, thousands of toddlers are rushed to the hospital after accidental battery ingestions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission acknowledges the urgent nature of this issue, yet they could take 3-5 years to pass stricter safety standards. Reese’s Law will guarantee within one year that button batteries have clear warning labels, child-resistant packaging, and secure placement in products.

“I am proud of my constituent, Trista Hamsmith, who has been a mother on a mission to prevent this tragedy from happening to other families and I’m glad to join Rep. Robin Kelly in leading on this important issue.”

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