Stationery and toy retailer Smiggle has removed a button battery-powered yo-yo from stores in WA, and across Australia, to protect children from injury or death.
A product safety recall of the YoYo Loco is due to concerns about how easily the battery compartment can be opened, allowing access to button batteries, which can kill or seriously hurt young children if swallowed. Smiggle advises that 10,848 have been sold nationally; 1,119 in Western Australia.
On 20 June 2016 Consumer Protection WA received a report about the product from a worried Mandurah mother and subsequently an officer carried out a product safety inspection at a store in Perth’s northern suburbs. Findings were reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which initiates product safety recalls.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard commended Smiggle for withdrawing the items from sale but issued a warning to parents and carers who may have bought the yo-yos already.
“The yo-yos have been pulled from Smiggle store shelves but we’re worried about the toys already out there in homes or playgrounds – young children could be left with significant internal injuries, or even die, if they access and swallow the button batteries,” he said.
“If you are in any doubt about the risk these button batteries pose, every week up to 20 children are hospitalised in Australia after swallowing them; some are left with permanent disability and others have died. That’s because the batteries can get stuck in a child's throat and burn through the oesophagus in as little as two hours!
“Anyone who has purchased the YoYo Loco should take it away from children and safely dispose of the batteries by wrapping them up and putting them in the bin, or by taking them to a local recycling facility. The yo-yo itself can be returned to Smiggle for a full refund.”
Safety standards exist in relation to battery-operated toys, which should have secured covers to prevent a child being able to access the batteries. Toys without a secure compartment can be reported to Consumer Protection immediately by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 1300 30 40 54.
Button battery safety tips:
- Keep coin-sized button batteries (new or old/flat) and devices which contain them, such as remote controls and digital scales, out of reach of children.
- Check battery compartments on toys are secure and supervise children playing with battery-operated toys.
- Dispose of used batteries, safely and immediately. Safe disposal means wrapping up the batteries and putting them in a bin that cannot be accessed by children or disposing of them at a battery recycling facility without any chance of children getting hold of them during transportation.
- If a child swallows a button battery do not let them eat or drink, do not make them vomit and seek urgent medical attention – internal burns can occur within two hours.
- As well as attending hospital or seeing an emergency doctor, you can speak to The Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for additional treatment information.
Consumer Protection, along with Kidsafe WA, is encouraging parents and carers to complete a button battery awareness survey run by the University of Technology Sydney. The purpose of the survey is to help design a safe recycling system for button batteries. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and is at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LFR5M63.
Further information about button battery safety is available at www.productsafety.gov.au.
Media contact (Consumer Protection)