‘I watched my baby die:’ Mom pushes for battery safety standards after toddler’s death

Reese Hamsmith was known as a vivacious and happy toddler to her loved ones in Lubbock, Texas.

“Reese took the attention of an entire room,” said her mom Trista Hamsmith.

But tragedy struck Reese’s young life in October 2020 when her parents and doctors discovered the little girl had swallowed a button battery.

“The nightmare began,” Trista Hamsmith told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

Trista Hamsmith said over 40 days, Reese endured multiple surgeries, x-rays, and scopes.

Despite doctors’ efforts, hope for her recovery was shattered in December 2020.

Reese lost her fight at just 18-months-old, shortly before Christmas.

“The beeping, the yelling, the flashing lights,” said Trista Hamsmith. “No pulse. No pulse. Again and again. This time she didn’t come back. That’s right. I watched my baby die more than once.”

Trista Hamsmith came to Capitol Hill this week in an effort to warn other parents and to urge lawmakers to enforce stricter safety standards.

She is now the founder of the nonprofit group “Reese’s Purpose” named after her daughter.

The group is urging Congress to pass H.R. 5313 also known as “Reese’s Law” which would require secure battery compartments on consumer products and require better warning labels.

According to the legislation, the Consumer Product Safety Standard Commission would be required to establish “a final consumer product safety standard for button cell or coin batteries and consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries.”

Members of both parties on the Senate panel focused on the urgent need to better protect young children from the potential dangers of small batteries.

“In 2020 alone, there were 3,500 reported button battery ingestions,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) “That number is likely an undercount.”

“A big part of this is standards development,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

Trista Hamsmith pleaded with lawmakers to enact federal standards to help protect children around the country.

“Please don’t let the death of my daughter Reese and her purpose be in vain,” said Trista Hamsmith. “Children’s safety is a nonpartisan issue.”

Reese’s Law has been introduced in the House but there is not a companion bill in the Senate at this time.