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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.

These button battery resources were originally developed by Kidsafe SA and SA Health.

Public poster

Public DL brochure

Clinicians poster

General Practitioners poster