New rules for products with button batteries

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Owners advised to safely dispose of potentially dangerous batteries.
Button batteries.

New standards for products with button batteries have taken effect in Australia.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the world-first standards were a critical step in helping prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children.

“Tragically, three children have died and one child a month is seriously injured from swallowing or ingesting button batteries,” Ms Rickard said in a media release.

RACQ has stopped distributing promotional merchandise with button batteries after the introduction of the new safety standards across Australia.

RACQ products that have the button batteries include light-up key rings and pens.

Ms Rickard said used button batteries should be wrapped in sticky tape and stored in a glass container out of reach of children before being taken to a bcycle drop-off point for recycling.

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

The ACCC urged consumers to check for unsafe button batteries in their homes.

“Button batteries are found in a large number of common household items such as toys, remote controls, watches, digital kitchen scales and thermometers. If swallowed, they can cause serious injuries to children,” Ms Rickard said.

“That’s why we encourage consumers to check the list of recalled products on the Product Safety website.

“The compartment holding the button battery needs to be secure and child-resistant.

“If it isn’t, parents or carers should stop using the product immediately and keep it out of reach of children.”

If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 for advice. 

Visit the Queensland Health website for more information on button batteries.


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The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.