WA: ’Tis the season to be wary with children’s toys

Published: 
16 Dec 2015

Flashing decorations, jewellery, musical stockings and greeting cards are among the items that made it on to the naughty list during Consumer Protection’s annual pre-Christmas product safety inspections.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin is urging the Western Australian community to check button battery powered products twice because the lithium batteries, which are shiny and might look like sweets to toddlers, could kill or seriously injure a child if they are swallowed.

“In the eyes of a child, something that flashes or makes noises is just a toy, but it may have hidden risks if they are powered by button batteries,” Mr Mischin said.

“Consumer Protection recently inspected 105 button battery operated items at 44 different retailers, with 20 found not to be secured appropriately and failed a ‘drop test’, leaving potentially deadly lithium batteries exposed after the item hit the floor.

“If swallowed, button batteries can become stuck in a child’s throat and burn through the oesophagus in under two hours.  Tragically, there have been deaths including that of a four-year-old in Queensland in 2013.  Children who survive button battery ingestion can require feeding and breathing tubes and repeated surgery.

“I am pleased that when Consumer Protection’s concerns about certain button battery powered products were brought to the attention of retailers, store managers acted quickly to remove the items from sale voluntarily.

“An example was the removal of LED Lava Drops from 57 retailers, including all Target stores, after the item failed a ‘drop test’. Refunds are being offered to anyone who has purchased one.

“Despite the best efforts of product safety officers in WA, there may be dangerous button battery powered products in the community and we want parents, grandparents and carers to be very aware that if a child accesses these batteries and swallows one, it could result in serious injury, permanent disability or even death.”

Safety tips include:

  • keeping loose coin-sized button batteries (new or old/flat) and devices which contain them (i.e. electronic and garage door remote controls) out of reach of children
  • checking that battery compartments are secure and supervising children playing with battery-operated toys
  • disposing of used batteries immediately and safely
  • ensuring that if a child swallows a button battery, they do not eat or drink or are made to vomit. Immediate medical attention must be sought as a burn can occur in two hours

Fact File:

In Australia, an estimated 20 children per week present to an emergency department with an injury related to a button battery

For more information, visit The Battery Controlled - Button battery safety.

Consumers with concerns about button battery powered products should report details to consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or 1300 30 40 54

Minister's office - 6552 5600

Story of Perth family's experience after a young boy swallowed a button battery can be found here.

Lava lamp withdrawn from sale

Withdrawn from sale - Lava lamp.

 

Items failed Christmas product safety tests button batteries

Withdrawn from sale - Other Christmas items removed from shelves.
 

Contact details

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

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