Commissioner's Blog: Safety advice for kids' Christmas gifts

This announcement is for: 
Consumer

With Christmas over for another year, many children are happily enjoying their new gifts.

While it is always exciting for children to receive fun gifts to play with, they may pose some safety risks, so it is a timely reminder for parents to be aware of key safety issues with some products.

Button or coin batteries are found in many toys and novelty gifts that produce light and sound effects, but they are also found in household items such as remote controls, watches, calculators, torches, LED candles and kitchen and bathroom scales.

If a button battery is swallowed by a child and becomes stuck in their throat, an electrical current is immediately triggered by saliva, causing a chemical reaction that can result in severe burns in as little as two hours and can be fatal.

In Australia and globally, there is a growing number of injuries and deaths from button batteries, particularly in children aged 0-5 years, who have a tendency to place small objects in body orifices such as their mouth, ears and nose.

Parents should regularly examine items in their home powered by button batteries, particularly if purchased from overseas as it may not be child-resistant. The compartment that houses button batteries needs to be child-resistant, such as secured with a screw, so a children can’t access it.

If a product becomes damaged or broken, a button battery may come loose and be easily ingested by a curious child. Parents should wrap the button battery in sticky tape to make disposal safer, and immediately dispose of it in an outside bin. New button batteries should also be kept out of sight and out of reach from young children at all times.  

Another gift that children may have received for Christmas is a trampoline, but they come with a number of safety risks as well, particularly if they’re not properly maintained.

Trampolines are designed for one child to use at a time and should be checked regularly to make sure the mat doesn’t have holes, the frame is not bent, the leg braces are securely locked and the springs are intact and securely attached at both ends.  

Parents should also consider adding safety padding on the frame and springs to avoid injuries if a child accidently hits the frame or springs, as well as a safety net to prevent falling off the trampoline.  

For more information about other Christmas gifts that may be a safety risk for children, visit https://www.productsafety.gov.au/news/be-summer-safe-2022. Parents should also consider regularly checking the latest product recalls including items with button batteries on the Product Safety Australia website: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls

Trish Blake Commissioner 2023
Trish Blake Commissioner 2023, by CP Media

Trish Blake

Commissioner for Consumer Protection

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
05 Jan 2023

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