Dangerous button batteries found in common household items can easily be accessed by children. Find out what you can do to minimise risk:
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.
Coroner calls for stricter regulation of button btteries after child dies.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Another article warning about the risks of button batteries.
And the ACCC has released Safety Warning Notice for button batteries.
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?
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!
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?
Enough is enough, time for decisive action on button batteries.