‘My Place’ Family Day Care: Dangers of Button Batteries

In Australia, an estimated 20 children per week turn up at hospital emergency departments with suspected button battery ingestions. Up to two dozen children per year end up with serious, lifelong injuries.

The wave of increasingly small electronic devices has seen the rise for button batteries. Besides toys, these tiny big dangers are more commonly found in household items like TV remotes, car key fobs, electric candles, musical birthday cards, kitchen scales; as well as medical items like thermometers and hearing aids.

Buying tips:

  • If buying a toy, household device or novelty item, look for products that do not use button batteries at all.
  • Look for products that are powered by other types of batteries which are less likely to be swallowed by young children and do not present the same degree of danger if they are.
  • Alternatively, look for products where the battery does not need to be replaced, such as where the product is rechargeable.
  • If you do buy button-battery-operated products, look for ones with a child-resistant battery compartment. This will make it much more difficult for a young child to access the battery.
  • Buy new button batteries in child-resistant packaging – that is, the packaging needs to be opened with scissors.

If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 for 24/7 fast, expert advice. If your child is having any difficulty breathing, contact 000.

Sources: ABC, Product Safety Australia