Button batteries, in particular big, powerful lithium coin cell batteries, can badly hurt or kill a small child if they swallow one and it gets stuck in their food pipe.

Where are button batteries found?

Know where button batteries are in your home, so you can keep your children safe. Our poster suggests where to look and what to look for.

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Download and share our button battery poster. Or, order a FREE printed A2 poster to display.

Typically, small children:

  • find batteries that have dropped out of products with loose backs
  • find spare batteries in a drawer or on the floor after a packet spills open
  • get hold of ‘flat’ batteries left on a worktop or table or stored for recycling.

Batteries in toys, gadgets and novelty items

Button batteries are used in an increasingly wide range of toys, novelty items, gadgets and other everyday objects you’ll find around the house.

While some battery compartments are secured, many products have loose backs and the batteries can fall out, for example, when the product is dropped.

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Lots of these objects have buttons and surfaces that young children love to explore and play with. Many are brightly coloured or otherwise appealing to children. These include:

  • toys where the battery compartment isn’t secured
  • gaming headsets
  • light-up toys and novelty items
  • string lights, nightlights and tea lights
  • small remote controls
  • car key fobs and key finders
  • musical cards and books
  • digital scales and thermometers
  • fitness trackers

The most common lithium coin cell batteries powering these products are 20mm in diameter (known as CR2016, CR2025 or CR2032); but 16mm, 23mm and 30mm diameter batteries also exist.

Children’s toys

In the UK, batteries in children’s toys are covered by toy safety regulations. They should either be enclosed by a screw and a secure compartment, or need two independent or simultaneous movements to open the battery compartment.

But toys bought online or from markets, discount stores or temporary shops may not follow toy safety regulations. For example, trading standards officers have issued warnings about light-up fidget spinners where the battery is easily accessible to children.

And remember that older children may still be able to open secure battery compartments.

Spare batteries

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Products may come with a spare lithium coin cell battery in a small plastic bag.

When you buy replacement batteries, some are individually sealed in the pack and can only be removed with scissors. But with others, especially cheaper packs you buy online or in discount stores, once you open it, all the batteries come out and some may fall on the floor.

Spares often end up being stored in open containers or loose in a drawer.

In this film, George Asan talks about his daughter Francesca, who died after swallowing a spare button battery.

‘Flat’ or ‘dead’ button batteries

It’s not just fully charged lithium coin cell batteries that pose a risk.

Modern devices need a lot of power. When power levels drop, we think the battery is flat and discard it. But it can still have enough electrical charge left to cause serious internal injuries. Read ‘Are your used batteries really ‘flat’?’ to find out more

More information

Button Batteries

The risks

Find out more about why button batteries are so dangerous.

Button Batteries Fact Sheet - English

Top tips

Download and share our top tips for keeping children safe.

Used batteries

Discover why ‘flat’ batteries are still unsafe and what should you do with them.

In an emergency

Find out what to do in an emergency if you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery.

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