Household products with button batteries fail CHOICE safety test

Dangerous button batteries found in common household items can easily be accessed by children. Find out what you can do to minimise risk:

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Just had a news story on TV about the failure to provide “safe from children” button battery access on many devices. I am fairly sure the TV report was generated from Choice’s efforts in this area, so congratulations to Choice for their activity in this area to bring it to much greater public awareness.

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Thanks @grahroll :slightly_smiling_face: :+1:

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Coroner calls for stricter regulation of button btteries after child dies.

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A second concern here is about how we store and manage any spare batteries or used ones. That is an area outside of the direct control of the device importers and retailers.

Blister packs offer some protection. Once opened what next, and where does the used battery go awaiting safe disposal.

As users of these devices are we all savy enough to understand and appreciate the risks of button batteries to our young children or others in the household? Would we even consider buying the devices knowing what we now understand better?

Worse is the likelihood that any one with young children and purchasing devices with button batteries, does not fully understand or appreciate the risks.

It’s a bit like a swimming pool fence scenario where despite all our best efforts, the little ones still slip under the radar too often. It’s unlikely though we will ever ban the pool?

But for button batteries, perhaps there is a better way to power these devices?
EG Make only recharagabe devices, like a fitness tracker etc?
Rather than just looking to more secure compartments and increased awareness! :thinking:

I note built in rechargable is mentioned in the Choice report as one option, as well as clearer labeling and more secure compartments. The latter is always going to be vulnerable to the human factor, which is way down the hierarchy of controls for such a high level of risk. It would likely fail any Workplace Safety risk assessment. My view. This reflects the inadequacies highlighted by Choice in consumer law and product safety requirements.

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One area that no one has mentioned, media or here, is parental responsibility. I know we can’t watch our kids every minute of every day. We can teach them and we can make sure we dispose of these batteries correctly.

Our son has autism and as an infant/toddler and early primary school child he would keep putting everything in his mouth. We drilled it into him that batteries are dangerous and do not go in your mouth because they hurt and can kill you. To my knowledge, he didn’t put any in his mouth.

He did get the iron and melted the carpet in the middle of the sewing room. He played wih my sewing machine and broken the needle… in his thumb. He did plenty of things he shouldn’t have but he didn’t eat batteries.

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Another button battery incident but fortunately not a fatality.

The article claims that the ACCC estimates that there are 20 cases a week involving children swallowing button battreies in Australia.

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Another article warning about the risks of button batteries.

And the ACCC has released Safety Warning Notice for button batteries.

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Thanks @Fred123 for the update.

It’s disappointing the ACCC is only making recommendations on handling and use, rather than mandating change followed by compliance? I guess that is back to each of our nation state governments to act on?

P.S.
Yesterday I noticed a large number of multi battery blister packs (card backing) for sale at the counter of the local Mitre 10. Twenty plus button cells of various sizes for only $2.00 in each pack!

Likely they are not fit for purpose at that price?
Likely many will never be used and become more waste!

I struck up a friendly chat with the experienced and well matured senior staffer at the counter.

When it came to the button batteries, he was well aware of the safety concerns. From the discussion it may be there is a common view it is up to parents to keep the batteries away and educate their children. I had a different view especially concerning younger children! :rage:

In response he was wondering what I might be going to grow in the 20 plastic pots I’d just purchased. Weeds, was not a good suggestion? ( that’s how some of the neighbours view native vegetation, just in case you were wondering )

Need to add button batteries to the ‘ never religion, politics, or money’ paradigm?

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Enough is enough, time for decisive action on button batteries.

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A smart thinking Canberra mother has averted a disaster for her toddler after yet another button battery incident.

It is way past time that the button battery fiasco was rectified.

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More button battery tragedy.

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Another child killed by a button battery.

And over 1,000 children hospitalised each year.

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Seems to be that another child has died due to medical incompetence. Maybe these button batteries could be coated with something so unpalatable that not even a child would think of consuming it. Like natural gas is mixed with tiny amounts of foul smelling ethyl mercaptan to warn of gas leaks.

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Any child dying from consuming a button battery is one death that could have been avoided by products having secure battery cases and ensuring that battery buttons outside any devices are stored out of reach of children. This is why Choice’s campaign is very important.

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The third tragic death since 2013.

We all care.
The Qld Coroner will have their say on the circumstances relating to the medical treatment received in the most recent incident.

In the interim.

  • If only there was no such thing as a button battery.
  • If only parents with young children did not bring devices with button batteries or replacement batteries into the home.
  • If only parents with an ill young child checked their button batteries and realised one was missing.
  • If only parents who were missing a button battery told the doctor one is unaccounted for.
  • If only …

It’s difficult at every step.
Parenting is not easy.

Not having the button batteries may be the only option for now. Choice has been leading out on button batteries.

They are not the only hazards for young children parents need to be ever mindful off.

Over the past 25 yrs 965 children aged under 5yrs died from drowning.

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Wristbands with loose button batteries were handed out at the AFL grand final on the weekend:

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" Background:

In March 2019, then assistant treasurer, the Hon. Stuart Robert issued a Safety Warning Notice about the dangers of button batteries and asked the ACCC to expedite the regulatory impact assessment process for developing regulation to address button battery safety.

The ACCC established a Button Battery taskforce in July 2019, and in August 2019, released a Button battery safety issues paper which sought stakeholder feedback.

In March 2020, the ACCC released the Button battery safety – Assessment of regulatory options – consultation paper for public consultation.

The ACCC is currently finalising regulatory options to address the dangers of button batteries which it will provide to Government this year."

Lucky that the problem is obviously not urgent.

And an article regarding the AFL fiasco.

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It’s worth noting the advice to put the device complete with batteries straight in the bin is not the greatest of wisdom. Aside from going to landfill, the bin might be an easy place for kids attracted to the device to find and access it!

Posting all the bands back reply paid to the AFL might be a better option. Or alternately remove the batteries and lock them away until you can drop them off at Aldi or other that recycles batteries might be another.

It just needs the AFL to advise which postal address they would prefer. :thinking:

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Interesting point, from a personal interest of mine…
Hearing aids have tiny annoying button batteries. Its wise to always carry a set with you in case they go dead when you’re out (its not always predictable), which means having button batteries in your handbag or pocket all the time, and the typical packaging is NOT secure in any way shape or form. When my son was tiny I obtained a child-proof pill bottle from the pharmacy to keep my emergency spare set in, and kept the others high in a cupboard at home. Also, to turn the hearing aids off, you OPEN THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT.
I had to train him from very young that if you find a button battery you give it to a grown up, just in case one went astray. Kid swallowed many dodgy things before he grew out of that age, but never, thankfully a button battery.
Now I have rechargeable hearing aids and loose button batteries are a thing of the past.

To my knowledge, there aren’t currently any rechargeable hearing aids available on the list of those that are fully subsidised by the government. Changing that could help get a HUGE number of button batteries out of the homes of grandparents and parents…

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