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Button Battery Hazard In Show Bags

We want you and your family to have a wonderful time at the Perth Royal Show this year, but our kids safety is first and foremost so make sure your read this warning about a little hazard, that can be very dangerous to your child - that may be found in Perth Royal Show Bags and novelty items purchased at the show.

Many parents would be surprised as to the hazard that is present in many of the novelty items in show bags and available for purchase from stands at the Perth Royal Show.

Button batteries are found in many kids toys and novelty items, are attractive to young kids and are small enough that they can be easily swallowed.

Still many parents didn’t realise how serious a hazard these batteries present

Button batteries are responsible for many child deaths, with the most recent being a 4yo several weeks ago in QLD.”

The batteries are found in household items such as remote controls and mp3 players and unfortunately many toys and novelty items.

Confident Hands First Aid trainer, and emergency nurse Nicole Grame, said that if button batteries are swallowed and get stuck in the throat, saliva can cause an electrical current that sets of a chemical reaction that can cause severe, even fatal burns to the oesophagus – these burns can even continue after the battery has been removed.   

Unfortunately the Product Safety framework of the Australian Consumer Law (WA), states that toys designed or intended for children under three (3) years of age, specifies that “no batteries shall be accessible without the use of a tool or unless at least two independent movements have been applied simultaneously to the battery compartment.”

Last year we had a near miss incident when our 2 year old found some batteries that had fallen under the couch.  My older son had dropped a toy that came in a Perth Royal Show Bag last year, and it had broken and the a batteries had fallen out, as they were no secured in a compartment and the toy was made of  poor quality plastic – so putting an age limitation on toys does not really make them safe. 

A report was made to the ACCC after the incident, they responded with and email stating “that the toy was compliant and therefore “safe” as it had been marked not suitable for kids aged 6 and under” - this item was therefore not required to have a contained button battery to be deemed "safe".

Kids Around Perth offer this advice for parents heading to the Perth Royal Show intending to purchase show bags -

·         Carefully inspect all toys within the show bag.  Be wary of small items that flash or make noise, these are most likely powered with button batteries.

·         If you find an item with a button battery reconsider purchasing that bag or item if you are likely to have young children in your home.

·         If purchasing an item with a button battery check that the batteries are contained within a compartment that is screwed closed and that the plastic is not of poor quality such that the batteries may fall out if dropped and the plastic breaks.

·         If you suspect your child may have swallowed a button battery or if a button battery has come in close proximity to your child and cannot be accounted for, take them straight to the emergency department, they will use a metal detector make an initial assessment and fast track them for an x-ray to confirm either way.

·         Ensure you inform grandparents or others who may be taking your kids to the show or buying show bags for them of this hazard and inspect any show bags given to kids thoroughly first.

All parents need to know about this hazard, but unfortunately there are still so many parents who are unaware of the risk these batteries present to their families.  

It's our understanding that legislation is being changed to improve requirements around securing button batteries - but in the meant time please share with grandparents, other family members and friends and help get the word about button batteries around! 

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