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Lithium Battery Injuries To Kids Prompt ACCC To Meet With Industry

Lithium Battery Injuries To Kids Prompt ACCC To Meet With Industry

Industry attendees agreed to immediately improve the warnings on the packaging for lithium coin cell batteries supplied to consumers and introduce child-resistant packaging for these batteries as quickly as practicable.

They will also strengthen consumer education activities, including support for The Battery Controlled campaign (an existing ACCC and Kidsafe industry initiative). 

The ACCC would also work with suppliers of devices that use these batteries to improve warnings and designs to prevent children accessing these batteries, and continue efforts to develop safer battery designs. At the meeting were importers, retailers and industry associations, who discussed improvements to button battery safety.

“The ACCC has been concerned about the number of severe injuries to children from lithium coin cell batteries over recent times,” ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard said.

“The recent tragic death of a young girl in Queensland heightened the importance of improving the safety management of these batteries and products that incorporate them,” she said. The four-year-old was taken to Noosa Hospital early on Sunday with stomach bleeding after swallowing a lithium battery. She was transferred to Royal Brisbane Hospital, but could not be saved.

The meeting resulted in agreement and commitment to address safety concerns, Ms Rickard says. “Attendees recognised the importance of an internationally consistent approach, given the global nature of the industry. The meeting noted that several international industry standards would soon include button battery requirements and those could then be adopted in Australia. The ACCC will continue to work with international agencies on this important safety concern.”

Attendees are to provide the ACCC with written commitments and detailed plans on the agreed safety improvements. The ACCC says it will monitor progress and consider whether further action is required to improve the safety of button batteries.