Household products with button batteries fail CHOICE safety test

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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Good comments about hearing aid batteries but as far as moving government, their major issue is probably economics, not safety. The differential cost of rechargeable batteries and chargers vs single use batteries over a few years is negligible but the former amount (roughly $300) is in up front costs the government would have to subsidise, versus consumables left to the user (roughly $300 over 3 to 5 years).

Not intending for the points to be answered as it would get into a survey of products that would be OT. nb there are two topics about hearing aids, one here and the other here.

It becomes a catch 22 for government for button battery safety against their budgets. My punt is budgets win any time their benefactors are not major recipients of spending policies.

The pluses and minuses of the modern rechargeable hearing aids is best continued in one of the existing topics, linked above.

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Training and retraining very young children is always a challenge. It’s great you made a special effort with your son.

In the world of workplace safety elimination ranks at the top of the recommendations with substitution a second best option. I can find these exact requirements for risk management in various sections of state legislation and codes of practice.

It’s unrealistic to expect a soft control that relies on parental awareness and conformance to be effective. Not all young children will be trained and not all can resist temptation or the need to experiment.

Governments at State and Federal level clearly have double standards when it comes to not legislating to eliminate, control and restrict button batteries.

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There could be regulatory steps implemented by the government on the packaging of hearing aid batteries at the very least.

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I believe that we need a blanket ban on button batteries being used in any products for children.

All other products should have a battery compartment which requires a tool to open it and it will not open if the product is dropped or otherwise abused.

The only safe ones at present are the backup batteries on computer main boards which most people do not know even exist and are not readily accessible.

Enough is enough.

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At first glance I agree, excepting we are continually subjected to ‘homogenisation’ of global requirements. Since hearing aid batteries are imported would the manufacturers be amenable to Australia specific packaging notices for our small market, or would they withdraw and product would be grey imports?

Many labelling issues are easily solved by stickers so that argument is a furphy. Now what should it say in addition to what is currently shown, expecting this to be representative of hearing aid battery packages? In this case a ‘more local’ phone number might be mandated although that shown will take collect calls but one needs to know it is a US number? Do they take international collect calls? I do not know. But what else could be added to make the point and where/how applied for more visibility?

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Good grief. It’s not made in China.

There are a few others. One example is a Sony clock radio where the 2032 backup battery is in a tray drawer that opens from the back, secured closed with a screw much longer than it need be. Even if a child knew how to open it they would need a very small screw driver to fit into the hole, and even if they found one most would probably get bored before getting the screw out and move on.

I had not realised how ingenious it was until this thread!

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We had a pair with rechargeable batteries from Hearing Australia. I’m don’t think they have many choices but they do have some.

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There is now a recall.

And this fiasco is virtually identical to the one that @njfking posted about in February 2019.

RECALLS Cricket Australia — Promotional LED Wristband

How many calls does it take to wake up a ship of fools?

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Having the law redefine what has occurred as criminal. Exposing the corporation and the individuals responsible for authorising the product to non trivial fines and prosecution.

Workplace and Mining safety legislation exposes Companies and staff to fines and prosecution for at risk conduct. Why should the AFL or any other be exempt?

A recall after the fact might not be sufficient penalty to deter others. In the interim the hazard remains a serious risk. It’s unlikely the AFL will be able to account for every band and battery.

The importer of the product should also be held accountable according to law. Why have a lesser standard of accountability and liability to keep the public space safe, compared to a workplace.

Perhaps someone in the community can clarify to what extent the AFL and importer of the product are able to be prosecuted under current legislation. And if there are options, are they likely to be taken up.

P.S.
The AFL is a sports Business above any other aspiration or need. It’s value is in it’s brand. Hopefully they do more than just the recall to show they are responsible.

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They won’t be able to account for any of them as the recall advice is to put them in the garbage.

The most annoying part is that this is a repeat of what @njfking posted some 18 months ago.

It should never have reoccured.

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Oh! A Claytons recall.
They’ve answered my last point.

Is it just possible?
May the business of Melbourne Football forever return to it’s home to be never played north of the Murray, and all their footballs turn into spheres. :thinking:

Edit - noted per the ABC the ‘recall’ was an ACCC direction.

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I initially though that it might be a good idea, but then realised that it may not prevent young children placing the button batteries in their mouth. The main reason being is there are cases of young children placing and swallowing dishwashing powder/liquids/tablets. These products are highly alkaline and would be very offensive on the palate. There are also other highly offensive items (to adults) which young children place in their mouths. I wonder if this is because their palate and tastes are expanding with experience they are yet to to conditioned on what tastes good and what doesn’t.

I then thought maybe placing a plastic/resin seal around the batteries except for two contact points on the positive and negative terminals, to increase the shorting distance (distance between positive and negative surfaces on the battery). This is also likely to have any effect as the same potential impacts within the human body is likely to be the same as the battery would short through digestive/body fluids.

Maybe battery cover design and storage management is the only solution while button batteries have a market.

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If the current batteries and designs are banned, the solutions might also become self evident?

Devices requiring small button size batteries could in future come in one of two options. Cells physically soldered or epoxy encapsulated within a device on a one way journey. Or the same strategy but with a rechargeable cell where longer life might be required.

It still leaves a legacy of existing devices and toys in which the current generation of replaceable cells will persist. We were well aware of the risks more than 30years ago when our children were at that vulnerable age. Longer if we look back to the early LCD display toys and calculators.

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Landfill complete with button battery?

Landfill with a rechargeable battery?

There is obviously a safety vs recycling/sustainability tradeoff in those approaches.

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