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Keep button batteries out of kids’ reach

Keep button batteries out of kids’ reach

30 June 2014

They power our watches, hearing aids, singing greeting cards, TV remote controls, calculators, keys and lots of other gadgets we enjoy using. But button batteries can be deadly if swallowed. So keep them away from children and be aware that the elderly have mistaken them for pills!

What are button batteries?

Button batteries are coin-sized batteries used to power calculators, flameless candles and tea lights, hearing aids, watches, singing Christmas cards, bathroom scales, talking books and lots of other devices we use every day.

They are often sold cheaply in plastic packs that contain a large number of batteries, which leave plenty of spares in the opened pack if you only need one.

Why can they be dangerous?

When a button battery comes into contact with bodily fluids, it creates an electrical current. The current burns surrounding body tissue and can quickly and seriously damage internal organs in as little as two hours’ time. This can happen even with flat or ‘dead’ batteries.

What should you do?

There is an interactive video to help medical specialists, parents and caregivers keep children safe from button battery related injuries. See

See a video about the immediate dangers of button batteries on Consumer Affairs’ YouTube channel:

How to use button batteries safely

• Don’t ever allow children to play with button batteries.

• Store button batteries like you would for medication or matches – out of reach of children. This means either in a cabinet out of a child’s reach or in a child-proofed locked area.

• Keep spare or used batteries away from tablets and pills that elderly people may be taking. For example, make sure they change hearing aid batteries in an area completely separate from where they keep their medication.

• Change button batteries on a surface out of children’s reach. Immediately place the ‘dead’ battery out of their reach.

• Make sure the battery cover on devices that use button batteries is secure so a child can’t remove it. Use duct tape if necessary.

Seek medical attention immediately if you think someone has swallowed a button battery or a child may have placed one in their nose or ear. Do not let the person eat or drink anything and do not induce vomiting.

Need more information?

For more information about button batteries and general product safety, visit the “Product safety” section of the Consumer Affairs website (


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