RENEWED concern over safety standards for all products containing button batteries.

An estimated 20 children are hospitalised per week after ingesting button batteries. That’s twenty too many!

Currently, only toys designed for children under three years of age are required by law to have secure battery compartments.

“Button batteries are powerful, slim and light but they can also be lethal. It vital that the Federal Government acts to reduce the number of children ending up in emergency departments across the country having swallowed a button battery,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

“At the moment only toys designed for children under three years of age are required by law to have secure battery compartments, which means that other everyday household items have no mandatory safety standards.

“A quick scan of your home will find poorly secured button batteries in everything from bathroom scales and calculators to remote controls, musical greeting cards, games and toys,” Mr Godfrey says.

“Also known as disc or coin batteries, button batteries can cause chemical burns when stuck in body tissue and can be fatal. This can occur even when a consumer believes the battery to be flat.

“One of the problems with these batteries is that they can be swallowed easily without getting stuck or causing the child to cough, so unless someone sees it happen, parents or carers will be none the wiser.

“The symptoms are also varied, ranging from feeling slightly ill to having a mild cough. To make matters worse, children are often reluctant to tell anyone if they’ve swallowed something they weren’t supposed to.

“With button batteries being used in a growing number of products, it’s time to make products with button batteries child resistant,” Mr Godfrey says.

‘An electrical current is immediately triggered by saliva, which causes a chemical reaction that can cause severe burns to the child’s oesophagus and internal organs such as the lungs, heart, arteries and spine,’ the Product Safety Australia website said.

In the video below, CHOICE conducted a test to simulate the devastating consequences of a child accidentally ingesting a button battery.

Last month we shared a two-year-old girl from the UK was left fighting for her life after she accidentally swallowed a lithium “button” battery. Read her story HERE.

Safety tips

• If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or go to a hospital emergency room. Do not let the child eat or drink, and do not induce vomiting.
• Keep all disc battery operated devices out of sight and out of reach of children.
• Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
• Dispose of used button batteries immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous.
• Tell others about the risk associated with button batteries, and how to keep their children safe.

Share your comments below.

Image via CHOICE

We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.
  • And sometimes it would be so hard to notice a button battery missing.


  • try to prevent using them and be vigilant over the littlies. very scary to see what happens if swallowed


  • I never realised just how many things use button batteries!


  • Batteries are so dangerous – and it gets worse to police them all when you have more children.


  • I see stories all the time about this,very dangerous indeed.


  • I have always known how dangerous batteries can be if ingested. Quite scary.


  • Scary !
    My youngest has a hearing aid. She has Down Syndrome and is very oral. So dangerous !


  • Our eldest is profoundly deaf and I was/ am constantly terrified that one of his siblings (or him) will swallow one of his battered.


  • Thank you for this article to alert us to check things. The only thing I possess with a button battery is my watch. As far as I know they are hard to open without the appropiate “tool”. I will not buy anything with a button battery if I can possibly avoid it, certainly not toys. I never thought of a thermometer though. One of mine appears to be a sealed unit. I can’t get it open at all. The other one has an opening long enough that I think it possibly takes a AAA.


  • Wow, I didn’t realise so many children were hospitalised each week because of button batteries. Any device that uses button batteries should have those batteries enclosed by using a screwdriver so that children can not get to them.


  • Oh my! That video is shocking. We need to be very careful with button batteries around kids and pets too!!


  • Yes I have been following kidsafe. Car remotes have button batteries. How many kids play with car keys.


  • I have read of children who have swallowed these batteries, they are so very damaging for something so small. I think tighter regulations are definitely needed


Post a comment
Add a photo
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by your browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating