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Button batteries

Button batteries are small round silver batteries that look like coins to small children.

They pose a serious choking hazard because of their size, which makes them easy for kids to put in their mouths and accidentally swallow, or to push them into their ears or nose.

If a battery is swallowed or put up the nose, it can cause severe burns or death.

Read all the information below and share with others to help keep children safe.

Check items

Button batteries are found in common household items, including:

  • children’s toys
  • flashing novelties (e.g. flameless candles)
  • remote controls
  • torches
  • thermometers
  • car keys
  • watches
  • calculators
  • digital kitchen and bathroom scales
  • musical greeting cards
  • glucometers
  • hearing aids
  • reading lights
  • cameras
  • fitness devices.

Make sure the battery compartments are secure.

Buy safe products

Only buy products that either:

  • require a screwdriver or tool to open the battery compartment
  • are secured with a child-resistant locking mechanism

or

  • require 2 independent and simultaneous movements to access the batteries.

Buy new button batteries in child-resistant packaging—that is, with packaging that needs to be opened with scissors.

Button battery products should be robust enough to be dropped without breaking.

Keep out of reach

Keep spare button batteries locked away out of children’s reach and dispose of used button batteries immediately.

Flat batteries can still be dangerous because they contain enough charge to generate an electrical current once ingested.

Seek immediate medical attention

If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted 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 2 hours to cause severe burns once a button battery has been ingested and remains lodged in the body so you need to take immediate action.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • gagging or choking
  • drooling
  • chest pain (this may present as grunting)
  • coughing or noisy breathing
  • unexplained vomiting or food refusal
  • bleeding from the gut—black or red vomit or bowel motions
  • nose bleeds—sometimes this can be blood vomited through the nose
  • unexplained fever
  • abdominal pain
  • general discomfort
  • spitting blood or blood-stained saliva
  • bloody discharge from ear or nose.

Tell others

Tell family and friends about button battery safety, including prevention, recognising symptoms and taking action. Keep button batteries out of reach at all times.

Report products that use unsecured button batteries to us or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Share this page, the Queensland Health blog post and button batteries consumer flyer (PDF, 499KB) with others.

Find a list of recalled button battery products from Product Safety Australia.

This video from the ACCC provides advice and explains how parents and carers can keep children safe from button batteries in the home.

closed captions icon Duration 2:41

Mandatory standards for button and coin batteries

In December 2020, the Australian Government introduced new mandatory standards for button and coin batteries to reduce the risk of death and injury associated with the use of button and coin batteries.

The new safety and information standards 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.

The new mandatory standards for button and coin batteries and the products that contain them include the 2020 consumer goods:

The mandatory standards include an 18-month transition period to allow businesses time to implement any manufacturing and design changes to products and packaging to comply with the new requirements.

From June 2022, businesses that supply button/coin batteries or products containing button/coin batteries in Australia must comply with these standards.

For more information, refer to the button batteries page on the Product Safety Australia website.

Mandatory safety standard for toys

The mandatory standard for toys for children up to and including 36 months sets out the requirements for the design and construction of toys for children in this age range.

It includes specific requirements for secure battery compartments on toys that contain button batteries. The key requirements include testing methods, design and construction.