The Battery Controlled – Button battery safety

4 Nov 2015

Button batteries can be found in many household items. If a child swallows a button battery it can get stuck in their system and burn through soft tissue in as little as two hours, causing serious illness or death. 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

The Battery Controlled

In 2012, Energizer, Kidsafe, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched a joint safety campaign, The Battery Controlled, calling on parents to keep batteries out of reach of children, get help fast if swallowed, and to spread the word about the danger.

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.
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