Brochure on button battery safety
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Make sure you include all items that use batteries as well as checking for spare and flat (used/spent) batteries.
Secure the battery compartment preferably requiring a tool like screw-driver to open so that the product cannot be opened by a child and will not pop open when the product is dropped.
Remember that children can be very clever and dexterous; give them the chance and they will find their way into battery compartments.
This includes items that use button batteries as well as spare and flat (used/spent) batteries.
While button battery ingestion can happen at any time of year, Christmas and school holidays are always busy periods for families. These time pressures may lead to people changing their normal routines and forgetting to take their usual precautions — leaving batteries or items that use button batteries unattended or not stored safely out of the reach of children. Holiday periods are also a time when families travel to visit relatives or friends so children are often in different environments and may explore drawers, cupboards or areas around the home they wouldn’t normally.
Button batteries can be accidentally swallowed when people hold batteries in their mouths while changing them or if batteries are left out near medications and might be mistaken for a pill or tablet. Hearing aid batteries can look like medicines especially in the dark.
Remember that used (flat/spare) batteries that no longer have enough charge to power items are still dangerous to children.
Tape the battery on both sides straight after removing from the product. This reduces fire risk and makes it less easy to swallow.
Dispose used batteries in a rubbish bin that is not accessible by children.
Novelties, toys and decorations around Halloween and Christmas commonly have button batteries which allow the item to light-up, make a noise or move. Merchandise and promotions that light-up or play music also need to be checked. Examples include:
Always keep the Poisons Information Centre phone (13 11 26) number readily available in your home and mobile phone
Just as it is important to check your home, it is just as important to tell friends and family how they can reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring from button batteries when people visit their home.
Important precautions we must all take to keep our children safe from the harms of button batteries in household items
For more information about button batteries and how to make your home safe: