VIC: Batteries charged with potential danger for children

17 Jun 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government, Monash Children’s Hospital and Kidsafe have joined forces to warn Victorian parents about the dangers of button batteries.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Heidi Victoria visited Monash Children’s Hospital today to warn parents that button shaped batteries can cause severe, life-threatening injuries if swallowed by children.

“Button batteries are found in common household items such as remote controls, laptops, car key openers, toys, wrist watches, singing books and cards,” Ms Victoria said.

“These batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat and burn through tissue in as little as two hours.

“Injuries from button batteries can require multiple surgeries, including the insertion of feeding and breathing tubes in order to repair the damage,” Ms Victoria said.

“Even with the best treatment, the damage can be severe and any delays in removing the batteries can lead to serious complications. I urge all Victorians to be aware of and vigilant to the potential dangers of button batteries.”

In Australia an estimated four children per week present to an emergency department with an injury related to button batteries. Children under five years are at the greatest risk of suffering injuries related to button batteries.

Earlier this year, a four-year-old Victorian boy spent three weeks in Monash Children’s Hospital after swallowing a battery from a laptop. The battery became lodged in his oesophagus and immediately began burning through the tissue.

Button battery safety tips

  • Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  • Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of sight and out of reach.
  • Dispose of old button batteries immediately.
  • Contact your local council for information about how to dispose of batteries safely.

If you suspect a child may have swallowed a button battery, go to the emergency room immediately.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for additional treatment information.

Contact details

Telephone: (03) 9651 5000
Consumer Affairs (VIC)
Product category