Potentially deadly button batteries are subject to tighter safety controls in Australia in world-first standards.
Under the new standards announced by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission on Wednesday, products must have secure battery compartments to prevent children accessing the batteries.
The batteries must also be supplied in child-resistant packaging.
Products and batteries must have additional warnings and emergency advice on the batteries, packaging and instructions.
Suppliers will have to ensure products have been compliance tested.
“These world-first standards are a critical step in helping prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.
“Tragically, three children have died and one child a month is seriously injured from swallowing or ingesting button batteries.”
All levels of the supply chain are legally required to comply with the mandatory standards and state and territory regulators will monitor and enforce compliance.
The standards were first announced 18 months ago, with the ACCC consulting businesses in that time.
“Already, businesses have recalled a number of different products, everything from novelty light-up toys, to children’s clothing, remote controls for smoke alarms and ceiling fans to even a yoghurt that had a light-up lid,” Ms Rickard said.
People are also being encouraged to check for unsafe button batteries in their homes.
If swallowed, a button battery can get stuck in the child’s throat, quickly causing a chemical reaction that burns through tissue, causing death or serious injury.
“As soon as you have finished using a button battery, wrap sticky tape around the battery, put it in a glass container out of reach of children and recycle at your nearest B-cycle drop-off point,” Ms Rickard said.
Consumers are encouraged to report unsafe products through the Product Safety Australia website.
For battery recycling go to: https://bcycle.com.au/