Button battery danger

Deadly hazard in common household products.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has urged parents and carers to be aware of the dangers associated with button batteries.

One Australian child per month is seriously injured after swallowing a button battery, with some sustaining life-long injuries.

Button batteries are flat, round batteries with diameters up to 32mm and heights ranging from 1-11mm found in toys, remote controls, watches, digital kitchen scales, thermometers and hearing aids.

ACC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the common household item could be deadly.

“Button batteries can be incredibly dangerous, especially for children five years of age and under,” Ms Rickard said. 

“They are tiny, shiny and similar in size to some lollies, making them very attractive to young children.

“If swallowed, a button battery can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue, causing death or serious injury.”

Ms Richard said parents should keep products containing button batteries away from young children.

“Many parents, carers and grandparents are not aware of the number of products in their homes with button batteries and they often may not be aware when their child has swallowed one,” she said.

“It is also very hard for health professionals to detect when a child has swallowed a battery as symptoms are similar to other conditions.

“If a product in your home must use a button battery, ensure the battery compartment is secured, for example with a screw, and that the battery is not accessible to a child.

“It is also important to remind grandparents, other family friends or carers of the dangers of button batteries and ensure other places the children go to are safe and secure too.”

More information on button battery safety is available on the Product Safety Australia website.

If you think a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, contact the 24-hour Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to develop.