Saving lives through mandatory button battery safety standards

Elise Archer,Attorney-General

The health, safety and wellbeing of all Tasmanians, particularly our children and young people, is of paramount importance to our Government.

That’s why, from 22 June 2022, mandatory safety standards for button batteries will apply in Australia.

Button/coin batteries are flat, round single-cell batteries commonly found in children’s toys, remote controls and watches. If swallowed, a button/coin battery can become stuck in a child’s throat and result in serious injury and even death.

Sadly, three children have died and 44 have been severely injured in Australia from incidents involving button batteries, and more than one child a month is seriously injured as a result of ingesting or inserting the batteries into places such as their ears and noses.

The new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission safety standards require that products containing button batteries must have secure battery compartments to prevent children from gaining access to the batteries.

Manufacturers must also undertake compliance testing to demonstrate the batteries are secure, supply higher-risk batteries in child-resistant packaging, and place additional warnings and emergency advice on packaging and instructions.

Supplying or selling non-compliant products to consumers in Australia will be illegal.

These changes are being introduced following an 18-month transition period, and will better protect our children from serious harm.

I am pleased these new standards are now in place, having advocated for them in late 2020, to ensure the health and safety of all Tasmanians.

I also urge all Tasmanians to check for unsafe button battery products and loose batteries in their homes, recognising that there are many products in the community that were sold under the old standards.

If you think your child has swallowed or inserted a button/coin battery, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 for 24-hour, seven-day-a-week advice. If your child is having any difficulty breathing, contact 000.

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