Button battery laws one year on are keeping children safe

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  • 43 per cent of button battery products inspected failed to meet product safety standards
  • 19 Infringement Notices issued in WA
  • Button battery emergency department presentations have halved in last two years

43 per cent of inspected products containing button batteries failed to meet product safety standards in Western Australia since mandatory button battery laws came into effect last year.

The button battery safety laws, which came into effect in June 2022, require button batteries to be contained in a secure compartment and pass compliance testing. The batteries must also be sold in child-resistant packaging when supplied separately and must display warnings and emergency advice.

Consumer Protection visited 594 businesses across WA including in Albany, Busselton and Karratha in the last year, and inspected 2,548 products containing button batteries that could be lethal to children if ingested. Of these, 1,105 were non-compliant.

19 Infringement Notices for button battery non-compliance, such as missing warning labels, have been issued since the laws became mandatory, resulting in a $1,320 fine on each occasion for individuals or $6,600 for businesses.

Since the laws came into effect, the incidence of children presenting to Perth Children’s Hospital Emergency Department with button battery related emergencies have halved from the 2021/22 financial year to this financial year, and there have been no deaths.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said while it is encouraging to see that button battery related emergency department presentations have decreased, Consumer Protection is concerned about the high percentage of non-compliance in WA.

“If young children gain access to a button battery and ingest it, they may suffer internal burn injuries which can result in serious illness and even death, that’s why it’s crucial for button batteries to be properly and adequately secured within the devices they power,” Ms Blake said.

“Our officers will continue checking retailers around WA to ensure the laws are being upheld. Businesses are on notice that they need to do the right thing and only sell compliant products or risk being fined.

“Parents should also be aware of the products they buy that contain button batteries. Button batteries can be found in most novelty toys that light up or produce sound, remotes, watches, games, calculators, key fobs and bathroom or kitchen scales.

“A simple ‘drop test’ of products containing button batteries can determine if a button battery will come loose from the compartment and make it easily accessible to children.

“If a button battery does become loose or needs to be replaced, immediately dispose of it by wrapping it in sticky tape and put it in a bin outside the home.”

If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26, or contact 000 if your child is in distress.

More information on button battery safety is available on the Product Safety Australia website. Toys or other products with unsecured button battery covers can be reported to Consumer Protection at consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or 1300 30 40 54.



Media Contact: Jasmine Sidhu, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / cpmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
29 Jun 2023

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