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ACCC Targets Unsafe Button Batteries In Children’s Toys

button batteries ACCC

The ACCC has named unsafe button batteries as a key priority in its action plan for 2020. In Australia two children have died from injuries caused by swallowing a button battery and around 20 children a week are taken to hospital emergency departments.

Button batteries, also known as coin-cell batteries, are flat round batteries. It is widely known that these pose a severe injury risk to children aged 0-5 years old.

Through the investigation undertaken by the Button Battery Taskforce, the commission has recommend that consumer goods that use button batteries be required to:

  • Have a battery compartment that is secured by a screw so that batteries can only be accessed with a tool;
  • Fully secure batteries inside the product by soldering or other such fasteners (if batteries are not intended for removal or replacement);
  • Meet compliance tests; and
  • Include warnings and information on the packaging.

To tackle this hazard, the taskforce is undertaking a regulatory impact assessment and consulting with industry players and health professionals to develop mandatory standards and enforce new safety measures.

At the moment, there are no specific mandatory regulations for button batteries in consumer goods Australia or overseas. “Without such mandatory safety standards it is likely we will continue to see further deaths and injuries associated with button batteries,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The ACCC plans to present recommendations on the matter to the responsible government minister in late 2020.

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