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Button batteries

Button batteries are small round silver batteries that look like coins to small children. They are attractive to young children as they are bright, shiny and easy to swallow. If a battery is swallowed, it can lead to serious burns resulting in internal bleeding or death. Think safety first with these helpful tips.

Check items

Button batteries are found in common household items including:

  • children’s toys
  • remote controls
  • watches
  • bathroom scales
  • cameras
  • musical greeting cards
  • flashing novelties.

Make sure the battery compartments are secure.

Buy safe products

Only buy products that require a screwdriver to open the battery compartment or that are secured with a child-resistant locking mechanism.

Be alert

Especially with items that do not have lockable compartments, including:

  • musical greeting cards
  • flameless novelty candles
  • some toys.

Children should not be allowed to have access to these products if the battery compartment is not secure.

Keep out of reach

Store spare button batteries in a cupboard out of children’s reach.

Make sure you dispose of used button batteries immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous as they contain enough charge to generate an electrical current once ingested.

Tell others

Tell family and friends about button battery safety and the importance of keeping them out of reach of small children at all times.

Seek medical attention

If you believe your child has swallowed a button battery, contact the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26. If this is not possible go straight to the hospital emergency room.

Do not let the child eat or drink and do not induce vomiting.

It takes as little as two hours to cause severe burns once a button battery has been ingested and remains lodged in the body so you need to take action.

Report it

Do you have information about an unsafe product? Report it to us.

Fill in an unsafe product complaint form

More information

The Battery Controlled

A website from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Kidsafe and Energizer to improve battery safety for kids.

Button battery experiment

A time-lapse video from the New Zealand Ministry of Community Affairs to show the damage that a button battery can do.

Last updated
22 April 2016

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