The Battery Controlled – Button battery safety

Published: 
4 Nov 2015

When swallowed, small coin-sized lithium button batteries can get stuck in a child's throat and cause severe burns or death. Watch the videos and follow the safety tips.

In a joint safety campaign, Energizer, Kidsafe, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warn parents about the dangers of small coin-sized lithium button batteries.

Hazards

If a child swallows a button battery, the battery can get stuck in the child's throat and burn through the oesophagus in as little as two hours. Repair can require feeding and breathing tubes and multiple surgeries.

Children under five years old are at the greatest risk.

Summer's Story – a button battery tragedy

Hunter's Story - A Boy Who Swallowed a Lithium Battery

Injury cases

In Australia, two children have died from button battery related injuries. Each week, an estimated 20 children visit an emergency department for removal or treatment of a swallowed or inserted button battery.

The most serious cases involve 10 cent-sized batteries, but all sizes can be dangerous.

Safety tips

Take Charge. Act Now.

  1. If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or go to a hospital emergency room. Do not let the child eat or drink and do not induce vomiting
  2. Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of sight and out of reach.
  3. Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  4. Dispose of used button batteries immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous.
  5. Tell others about the risk associated with button batteries and how to keep their children safe.

More information

Industry Code for Consumer Goods

An Industry Code to reduce the risk of death and life threatening injuries to children from button battery ingestion has been developed by retailers, associations, and product safety consultants with input from the ACCC and state and territory consumer safety regulators. The Code prescribes readily available safety features such as battery enclosures requiring a tool to gain access to the batteries.
Industry Code for Consumer Goods that Contain Button Batteries

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