Family Voices — Reese’s Story
Reese died after ingesting a button battery. She was 18 months old.
Submitted by her mother
Reese Elizabeth Hamsmith, known affectionately to those closest to her as ReRe, was born into this world a spunky, sassy, full-of-life little girl on June 13, 2019. At only 17 months old, Reese took the attention of an entire room the moment she walked in with her spirited demeanor and inquisitive attitude. She lived life in a way that most will never know. She loved hard, played hard, and fought harder.
Reese swallowed a button battery in October 2020; she endured countless surgeries and scopes and was intubated under sedation for 40 days. Reese lost her fight on December 17, 2020, at just 18 months old.
Her family always knew Reese would do big things in this world. In Reese’s hospital room sat a plaque that read, “He has a plan, and I have a purpose.” Her Earthly battle may be over, but her true battle, her true plan, and her true purpose has just begun. Through sharing her story, we can save lives—that’s Reese’s Purpose.
What’s Happened Since Reese’s Death?
Reese’s mom, Trista, has been a nonstop warrior raising awareness and working behind the scenes to make real change. She testified before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission priorities hearing asking for mandatory standards requiring safer closures on all products that contain button batteries. She founded Reese’s Purpose, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by improving product safety. Their first and primary focus is to raise awareness of the dangers of button batteries and to advocate for legislative action to prevent other families from suffering – either with lifelong health issues or the death of a beloved child – due to accidental button battery ingestion. The Hamsmiths have also set up a scholarship in Reese’s memory. In 2022, Congress passed Reese’s Law which will help prevent button or coin cell battery ingestions.
How You Can Take Action
To take action and help prevent further incidents, injuries, and deaths,
there are a number of things you can do:
- Secure and tape shut the battery compartments of all electronic items.
- Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child's reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.
- To safely dispose of button and lithium coin batteries, wrap them in tape and recycle or put them in an outside garbage can.
- If you suspect your child has ingested a button battery, take them immediately to an emergency room.
- Learn more about button battery ingestion and how you can get involved at Reese’s Purpose.
- Sign this petition organized by Reese’s mom calling on lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent button battery ingestions.