A campaign to prevent children being killed and injured by button batteries has reached a significant milestone thanks to ground-breaking new safety standards.
The Child Accident Prevention Trust has been raising awareness of button battery dangers amongst parents, highlighting incidents where children have been seriously injured or have even died after swallowing batteries.
“As well as communicating these dangers to parents and carers, we’ve been working behind the scenes as part of a steering group for BSI’s new battery safety standards,” said Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust.
“Created in response to the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch report and sponsored by the Office for Product Safety and Standards, the new standards are a huge step forward. We hope they will both improve safety and raise awareness of the dangers even further.”
There have been particular concerns about young children swallowing large, powerful lithium coin cell batteries. They can become stuck in a child’s food pipe, burn through the flesh and cause catastrophic internal bleeding.
The standards cover both lithium coin cell batteries and non-lithium button batteries.
The new safety requirements, which are now in force, mean that:
- Battery manufacturers must include information about the dangers of these batteries on packaging, including warnings to keep them out of the reach of children
- Manufacturers of consumer products that contain these batteries must ensure battery compartments are secure and difficult for children to access
- Instruction manuals for consumer products must include a list of the symptoms a child might have if they have swallowed one of these batteries
- Retailers of products containing these batteries must display warnings and information in stores or in online product descriptions.
The safety requirements take the form of a Publicly Available Specification (PAS). Geraldine Cosh, the Technical Author of PAS 7055:2021 said:
“It was an honour to be part of such a great project; we had a very committed and passionate steering group. I hope the publication of this PAS increases awareness of the issue and reduces the number of incidents associated with these batteries. The PAS is a great step forward for consumer protection and injury prevention.”
If you would like more information about button batteries, you’ll find lots of practical advice and safety tips on the button battery safety section of our website.