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Fair Trading welcomes new button battery mandatory standards

23 December 2020

New mandatory safety and information standards around the supply of button batteries and consumer goods containing them came into effect on 22 December 2020.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said these new mandatory safety and information standards are overdue as too many children are being injured by these items.

“In Australia, approximately one child a month sustains a serious injury from inserting or swallowing one or more button batteries,” Mr Bauer said.

“It is extremely sad that ingesting button batteries also resulted in the death of a Queensland toddler this year.

“Button batteries are ticking timebombs for our children and can be found in a wide variety of products in our homes such as remote controls, torches, calculators, watches, scales and car keys.

“However, at Christmas time they are even more prevalent, and used to power light up novelty and flashing objects like Santa hats, tree decorations, earrings and Christmas cards.

“Many of these items are cheaply made and the battery compartments are not secure or can break open easily, releasing the batteries.”

The new safety and information standards will require manufacturers to:

  • create secure compartments so children can’t access the batteries
  • conduct compliance testing to ensure the battery is secure
  • provide child resistant packaging for button batteries
  • place warning labels and alerts on products that contain button batteries, including on packaging and instructions.

“Australia is the first country in the world to design and deliver risk-based mandatory regulation that applies to all consumer products containing button batteries,” Mr Bauer said.

“All businesses that supply button batteries or products containing button batteries must comply with the standards by June 2022.

“The sooner these safety standards are adopted, the safer our children will be.

“While businesses have 18 months to comply, I strongly encourage them to transition to the new standards as quickly as possible.

“While these reforms will assist in ensuring products are safer and warnings visible, there is no substitute for immediate action by parents and caregivers – don’t leave used batteries lying around – dispose of them quickly and thoroughly.”