Button and coin batteries

The Australian Government has introduced four mandatory standards to reduce the risk of death and injury associated with the use of button and coin batteries. The standards apply to both button cell and coin cell batteries, and to the products that include them.

About button/coin batteries

Three small button batteries in a pile.Button/coin batteries are flat, round single cell batteries. They are typically up to 32 mm diameter, and range in height from 1–11 mm. 

In Australia and around the world, there is a growing record of serious injuries and deaths of children from these batteries. 

Button/coin batteries generally operate using one of four chemistries: lithium, alkaline, silver oxide and zinc-air.

Lithium batteries pose the highest risk. They are usually larger, which means that they are more likely to become stuck in a child’s throat. Their higher voltage means they can cause tissue damage more quickly.

Find out more about button batteries, risks, and advice for parents and caregivers.

Standards and resources

We’ve produced summaries of each of the four mandatory standards:

These summaries include links to the full standards.

For suppliers, we also have:

What’s in scope

The safety and information standards apply to both:

  • button/coin batteries
  • products containing button/coin batteries which are supplied to consumers.

They explain how products and their packaging should be designed, and the warnings and safety information that must be provided with them.

What’s out of scope

The standards don’t apply to these kinds of batteries:

  • zinc-air batteries intended for use in hearing aids
  • button/coin batteries supplied in bulk to trades, professions or industries, and are not intended for sale to the public

These standards don’t apply to these kinds of products that contain button/coin batteries:

  • hearing aids
  • consumer goods that were first supplied to a consumer before the requirements became mandatory
  • professional equipment where all of the following apply:
    • the equipment is intended to be used in trades, professions or industries
    • the equipment is not intended for sale to the general public
    • the equipment is not intended to be used where children are present
  • audio-visual and information and communications technology equipment containing button/coin batteries that are soldered in place.

The standards don’t cover in-store displays. However, there’s a voluntary industry code for suppliers of button batteries that contains recommendations about store displays.

The standards don’t define any requirements for the disposal and recycling of batteries, because that isn’t related to the product’s safety. However, they do recommend that you provide information about how consumers can safely dispose of batteries.

When the standards apply

The new standards were introduced on 21 December 2020. There is an 18-month transition period where you can choose to start using the new standards. They will become mandatory on 22 June 2022.

The transition period gives you enough time to:

  • make any manufacturing and design changes to products and packaging
  • undertake any testing necessary to ensure compliance with the new standards
  • remove non-compliant stock or get new stock that is compliant.

From 22 June 2022, fines and penalties may apply if you supply button/coin batteries, or products containing them, that don’t comply with these standards.

We strongly encourage you to comply with the standards early so that:

  • consumers can benefit from the safety outcomes as soon as possible
  • you can minimise the risk of non-compliance once the standards become mandatory.

Who’s responsible

All participants in the supply chain are responsible for complying with these new safety and information standards.

Suppliers

You are considered a supplier if you manufacture, import, distribute or retail button/coin batteries or consumer goods containing button/coin batteries within Australia or for the Australian market.

The ACCC

Our role is to identify and address the risk of serious injury and death from safety hazards in consumer products.

Once the standards become mandatory, we will be conducting market surveillance to make sure that button/coin batteries, and products containing them, meet the requirements of the standards.

We will consider taking enforcement action if a non-compliant product is offered for supply to consumers. Enforcement action can range from issuing infringement notices to commencing court action seeking penalties and other orders.

For more information on our approach to compliance and enforcement, see our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

What suppliers need to do now

The new standards are mandatory from 22 June 2022. Here’s what you should start doing now to become compliant with the standards.

Get to know the standards

Review the new standards now so that you’re familiar with what’s required and how to meet them. We encourage you to comply with the new requirements as soon as possible. Make sure that any buying arrangements you enter into now will get you compliant by June 2022.

Start testing your products

You need to test your products to show that they comply with the standards. 

You can engage a third party to do compliance testing, or do the compliance testing in-house. If you test in-house, you should consider the possible legal implications.

The 2 safety standards explain which tests are acceptable. They allow some flexibility in how you choose to test your product.

We don’t recommend specific testing laboratories that businesses can use, but we do encourage you to read our general guidance on product safety testing.

More information

Button batteries - information for consumers

Product category