ACCC warns companies as mandatory button battery laws come into effect today

Products that require button batteries must have secure battery compartments to prevent children from accessing them under new legislation that comes into effect today.

ACCC warns companies as mandatory button battery laws come into effect today

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned companies that supplying button batteries or products that work with them must comply with the new safety standards or face severe penalties.

Under the new mandatory standards, button batteries must be supplied in child-resistant packaging, and suppliers must also ensure that products have been tested for compliance.

Additional warnings and emergency advice should also appear on the batteries, packaging, and instructions.

The standards set out the minimum requirements such as performance, design, construction, finish, and packaging or labeling that products must meet before they can be delivered to Australia.

The changes were announced about 18 months ago.

Camera icon from today on, products with button batteries must have secure battery compartments. Credit: News Limited

ACCC deputy chairperson Delia Rickard said these world-first standards would help prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children.

She said three children had died, and one child a month was seriously injured from swallowing or swallowing button batteries.

“Inspectors will look for unsafe products online and in stores such as discount stores, variety stores, major retailers, pharmacies, newsagents, and at major events,” said Ms. Rickard.

“Companies are aware that serious sanctions can apply if we find unsafe or non-compliant products.”

Companies violating Australian consumer law can face a maximum financial fine of $10 million and, for individuals, $500,000.

Camera icon If a parent suspects a child has swallowed a battery button, they should take an X-ray. Delivered Credit: Delivered

The ACCC urges consumers to check their homes for unsafe button batteries, as they are commonly found in common household items such as toys, remote controls, watches, digital kitchen scales, and thermometers.

Ms. Rickard said it is vital to check the list of recalled products on the Product Safety website as the batteries can cause serious injuries to children if swallowed.

If swallowed, a coin cell battery can become lodged in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue, causing serious injury or death within two hours.

“The compartment containing the button battery must be safe and childproof. If not, parents or guardians should immediately stop using the product and keep it out of the reach of children.

“Keep new and used button batteries out of sight and reach of small children at all times.

“Once you’re done using a button battery, wrap tape around the battery, place it in a glass container out of the reach of children, and recycle it at the nearest bicycle drop-off point.”

Unsafe products can be reported through the Product Safety Australia website.

If you suspect t child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, contact the 24/7 Poisons Information Center on 13 11 26 for prompt, expert advice and request an X-ray from a hospital’s emergency department to be sure.

Camera Icon Children who ingest button batteries can be seriously injured or killed within two hours. Credit: News Regional Media

Lori J. Kile
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