A mum-of-three has described the "scariest moment of my life" after her youngest son swallowed a lithium battery which almost burned a hole through his oesophagus.

Lee Turner, ten, had been playing around with a battery-powered tealight that he keeps in his bedroom and uses as a nightlight.

Unbeknownst to his mum he had managed to take the light apart.

The youngster, who was nine years old at the time of the incident on Christmas Eve, started to play around with the lithium battery, throwing it in the air and trying to catch it.

But things took a horror turn when the battery came sailing down through the air and right into Lee's mouth - and he swallowed it.

Lee's terrified mum, Nicki, 33, rushed him to Broomfield Hospital.

The following morning Nicki and Lee were blue-lighted more than 40 miles to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Lee then underwent surgery at 5am on Christmas morning.

Nicki, from Witham said doctors told her that if Lee had waited ten more minutes to be taken to surgery the battery, which was lodged in his windpipe, would have burnt a hole through his oesophagus.

Miraculously, Lee managed to escape completely unscathed from the incident.

Nicki, who also has two daughters aged 17 and 13, said: "It was the most terrifying moment of my life.

"I didn't even realise how serious it was until we got to the hospital.

"But after the doctors spoke to me, I didn't even think we were going to be able to celebrate Lee's tenth birthday with him, on January 6.

Braintree and Witham Times: A battery inside Lee Turner's oesophagusA battery inside Lee Turner's oesophagus

"He was so scared in hospital, asking me if he was going to die or if they were going to cut him open. I had to tell him not to panic otherwise I would have panicked more.

"But amazingly, he's absolutely fine - there's no scarring, no swelling, it left no damage at all. He's a very lucky boy."

Nicki, who works as a carer for vulnerable adults with disabilities, now wants to raise awareness of how dangerous lithium batteries can be.

She said: "I just want to get it out there as much as possible and make people aware that lithium batteries are so dangerous. I don't even think they should be sold.

"Lee has had that tealight in his room for two years - he was given it by his school, and likes to have it on when he goes to sleep.

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"But what I didn't realise is that, where there should usually be a screw in place to stop kids from being able to get to the lithium battery, that actually wasn't there.

"So he'd managed to take apart the entire tealight and get the battery out. He was just throwing it in the air and trying to catch it, like kids do - but it landed in his mouth."

Lee's surgery took almost two hours - but Nicki said: "We're all just very thankful and feel very lucky to have him home with us today, and back to his usual self.

"I think he's learned his lesson about not going near batteries, too."