Button Cell Batteries: bad taste, would this work?

Something Choice has been campaigning for a long time on. Could they be made to taste horrible?

Perhaps if they were coated in something similar to Ban Suck (anyone who had this as a child will have less than fond memories of it). Is there a permanent coating that would last a long time?

Or perhaps concerned parents could be advised to coat any batteries they have in devices. Just not sure how long Ban Suck would last outside its little bottle. And be careful not to create a short circuit between the terminals!!!


Totally agree Southern, this is a scary issue so anything like making them taste unpalatable would work. It’s so easy for babies or small children to ingest these tiny items with potentially lethal results. Shops must also keep stock in their stores so they can only be accessed by adults.
The link below is an informative site.

The Battery Controlled site encourages corporate partners such as Energizer and Mister Minit to spread the word.

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It’s a good idea! From personal experience however, I’d say that it might not work.

My little cousin (less than 2 years old at the time) was rushed to hospital after he drank polyester resin hardner straight from the bottle (this was before there were child proof lids on them and it was in liquid form). It scared the hell out of our family and I’m happy to say that he survived.

But he drank it regardless of the taste and smell. I must admit he’s a fairly adventurous person. Maybe most wouldn’t.

It was all my fault too. I knew he was around and did the lid up as tight as I could so he wouldn’t open it but he still managed to pop it open and drink it.

How about parents just don’t buy battery operated toys for their small child and ensure they keep all adult devices well away from them. Much like parents are advised to keep potential poisons under lock and key.

Surely making your environment safe for children is part and parcel of being a parent or carer and given the propensity babies and toddlers have to put everything they touch in their mouths this is a predictable ‘accident’ waiting to happen that is completely avoidable.

May sound harsh but parental responsibility has to be part of the solution and we should not be expecting to outsource that responsibility to third parties - whether that be the manufacturer or retailer.


Agree with you on that [quote=“karen_seager, post:4, topic:11647”]
just don’t buy battery operated toys for their small child

But the reality is a little more difficult for other items. There are now so many devices with these batteries inside them, makes it very hard in practice to keep everything away.

The other issue is awareness. Most people have no idea how bad the batteries are if swallowed. I would have assumed they would just po(o)p out the other end. Not the case… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVbBBAJ8Xo8

Hi Karen,

The problem with these batteries is that they’re so small, so they’re often out of sight and mind. It’s not just in the home you have to worry (as a responsible parent you can take all steps to not have the batteries out of your home - that’s the easy part) - it’s out at parks, when your kid goes to a friends place, or even in a shopping mall or cafe where others can leave them lying around.

Kids will see the shiny discs and swallow them and even the best of parents can’t keep an eye on their kids at all times. (Also, personally I think a child shouldn’t be punished for having parents that can’t or don’t watch them every second of the day).

We expect our products to be safe, and one way in which manufacturers can do this is by securing compartments that contain button batteries with screws or the like. A voluntary code may do this, or we may need a mandatory code - we will see how the voluntary code the ACCC has launched fares, and then see if there is a need to make the code mandatory.


I agree. A one stage there was consideration of coating small powerful magnets with a bitter tasting product. It was not stable, seemed to wash off and was not detectable by several of our small sample group (our office staff). Taste is individual and some people are not able to detect bitter tastes.
Anecdotally, in my work with kids presenting to ED, they eat a range of things that would deter most adults: paint thinner, eucalyptus oil and dog poo…they just won’t eat broccoli!


does anyone know what types of products have these batteries? I have had two small children and never ever encountered these batteries…

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Hi @matt.quigley, here’s a list of common appliances that use button batteries.