Apple Product May Kill Kids, ACCC Warns
The ACCC has issued a dire warning about Apple’s AirTags device trackers, urging parents to keep them away from kids due to poorly-secured lithium button batteries.
Launched in April, the AirTags have a button battery with an easily opened compartment, meaning young children could gain access to and eat the batteries inside.
What’s more, according to ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, the battery cover does not always completely secure when closed, and the tag plays a sound when the cover is closed despite the fact that it may not be secure, giving a false sense of safety.
“We were also concerned that the outer product packaging does not have any warning about the presence and dangers of button batteries, and we note that Apple has now added a warning label to the AirTag’s packaging.
“However, this alone does not address our fundamental concerns about children being able to access the button batteries in these devices,” said Rickard.
When ingested, button batteries cause a chemical reaction which burns through soft tissue and can result in serious injury within two hours and death within days. Three children in Australia have died and 44 injured from eating the batteries found in other devices, with more than one child per month being seriously harmed. The ACCC ran a campaign in October last year – “Tiny batteries, big danger” – alerting consumers to the risks.
“As a safety precaution, we urge parents to keep AirTags away from their children. We know that small children can be fascinated by keys and love playing with them, so there is a risk that they could access this product, which is designed to be attached to a key ring, among other things.
“We are aware several large retailers, including Officeworks, are currently not offering the AirTag for sale because of concerns about button battery safety,” said Rickard.
Apple has noted in public statements that its AirTags require a two-step push-and-turn mechanism to access the battery, which it says is designed to meet international child safety standards, and it is “working to ensure that [its] products will meet or exceed new standards, including those for package labelling, well ahead of the timeline required”.