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Consumer watchdog issues warning on the risks posed by button batteries

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a warning to parents about the risk posed by small, coin-sized batteries found everywhere in the home – in TV remotes, kitchen and bathroom scales, flameless candles and tea lights, reading lights and calculators. 
“If toddlers or children find one of these batteries and swallow them, it can lodge in the child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction which burns through the oesophagus to the spine and into surrounding tissue in just a few hours,” warns ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
An average of five children land in hospital emergency departments each week after an incident involving a battery. 

“We urge you to do a thorough check of your home and place products containing button batteries out of sight and out of reach of children. If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, go to your nearest hospital emergency room immediately.”

Kidsafe Queensland is today launching its inaugural “Summer’s Day” to remember the children who die each year from unintentional, preventable injuries.

Summer’s Day is named in memory of Summer Steer, a four-year-old girl who tragically lost her life in July last year after swallowing a button battery.

“The ACCC has been working with the battery industry on a number of initiatives to improve the safety of button batteries. Warnings on the packaging of lithium coin cell batteries which highlight the dangers if these batteries are swallowed have been developed in conjunction with the battery industry. 

New packaging, including these warnings, is now starting to appear on products sold in Australia. 

The watchdog is also working with the industry towards the introduction of child-resistant packaging for button batteries.

SAFETY STEPS FOR PARENTS AND CARERS

. Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of sight and out of reach.

. Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.

. Dispose of used button batteries immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous.

. If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, immediately go to a hospital emergency room. Do not let the child eat or drink and do not induce vomiting.

. Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for additional treatment information.

. Tell others about the risk associated with button batteries and how to keep their children safe.
Further information is at www.summersday.com.au, www.thebatterycontrolled.com.au,www.productsafety.gov.au, @ACCCProdSafety and ACCC Product Safety Facebook page
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