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Button Batteries In ACCC Crosshairs

The ACCC is warning of the dangers of button batteries ahead of new regulatory recommendations, with one Aussie child a month seriously injured after swallowing or inserting them.

The consumer watchdog is preparing recommendations on regulating the batteries, which would ban devices like the wristbands distributed at the Gabba for the AFL Grand Final over the weekend – according to early reports, the button batteries inside were not properly secured.

Found in household devices including toys, remotes, watches, and hearing aids, button batteries can be “incredibly dangerous” to small children five years and under, according to ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.

“If swallowed, a button battery can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue, causing death or serious injury.

“They are tiny, shiny and similar in size to some lollies, making them very attractive to young children,” she said.

The ACCC’s new “Tiny Batteries, Big Danger” campaign seeks to educate Australians on the risks posed by button batteries, says Rickard. She recommends parents look for products that do not use them at all if possible.

“Many parents, carers and grandparents are not aware of the number of products in their homes with button batteries, and they often may not be aware when their child has swallowed one. It is also very hard for health professionals to detect when a child has swallowed a battery as symptoms are similar to other conditions.

“If a product in your home must use a button battery, ensure the battery compartment is secured, for example with a screw, and that the battery is not accessible to a child,” she said.

The ACCC also recommends disposing of used button batteries immediately in an outside bin after sticky-taping both sides, or recycling them safely.

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