Commissioner's Blog: Christmas safety check – beware button batteries
It's that time of the year when many kids are counting down to Christmas! It’s also the time our Consumer Protection safety inspectors are out and about making sure toys are safe for Santa’s sack.
Button batteries, which power many kids’ novelty toys, remain a deadly risk to small children if they swallow these tiny circular batteries. Our safety inspectors have already visited 58 stores and inspected almost 300 products, taking 53 non-compliant items off the shelf that were missing mandatory battery warning labels or failed to have secure battery compartments.
We advise parents and families to avoid buying children’s toys containing button batteries, which are commonly used in toys that make fun sounds and light up. Some items already seized include Christmas-themed flashing headbands, fairy wands, key fobs, musical Christmas cards, and children’s watches and torches.
Safety laws require button batteries to be securely contained and pass compliance testing. Despite these new laws, every week around 20 kids are taken to hospital emergency departments after swallowing a button battery that has become dislodged when the toy or item has been dropped or broken.
If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, take your child to your nearest emergency department or if your child is in breathing distress, call 000.
Other potentially risky Christmas gifts are eRideables, or motorised scooters, with increasing accidents being reported involving these devices. Many eRideables are designed for people over 16 years due to the speed limit exceeding 10km/h - the maximum allowable speed for children. Those under 16 are only allowed to use them on private property and in non-public areas. Helmets should always be worn and only one person should ride the device – no passengers are allowed.
And with the summer holidays come lazy days around the pool. Remember, even small portable pools can pose significant drowning risks to children if they hold more than 30 centimetres of water and lack pool fencing. When it comes to kids’ water safety, constant adult supervision is the key.
Christmas product safety seizures
Some items already seized include Christmas-themed flashing headbands, fairy wands, key fobs, musical Christmas cards, and children’s watches and torches.