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Button Batteries - A Little Known Risk

We use electronic devices every day without giving them a second thought. However, did you know that there is a hidden danger inside many of these devices that poses a serious risk for children?

Powerful coin-sized button batteries are found in many common household devices. Children often have easy access to these devices and many parents/carers are unaware of the dangers as many devices come with the batteries already installed.

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If swallowed, button batteries can become stuck in a child's throat and burn through the oesophagus in less than 2 hours. This burning can lead to serious injury requiring surgery, or death.

In Australia, around 20 children a week present to an emergency department with a button battery related injury - that's over 1,000 children every year. Children under the age of 5 years are at the greatest risk.

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To prevent button battery related death and injury:

  • Look for devices in your home that contain button batteries
  • Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure
  • Keep button batteries locked away out of the sight and reach of children
  • Dispose of old button batteries immediately and safely - for more information on safe battery disposal, please visit the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative website
  • Tell others about the dangers and share these steps

 

Urgent Action is Needed

If you think a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, don't wait for them to show symptoms. Call the Poisons Information Centre urgently for expert advice on what to do, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 13 11 26.

 

Resources

Kidsafe Victoria, in partnership with Safer Care Victoria and the Victorian Paediatric Clinical Network, have developed a range of resources to raise awareness of the dangers posed by button batteries and the need for urgent medical care. Resources include a poster for Clinicians, a poster for General Practitioners and poster and DL brochure for parents and carers. To download a free copy of the resources, please click on the links below.

Public poster

Public DL brochure

Clinicians poster

General Practitioners poster