Australia Publishes an Industry Code for Consumer Goods that Contain Button Batteries
SAFEGUARDS | Toys & Juvenile Products NO. 138/16
On July 29, 2016, the Australian Toy Association published an industry code for consumer goods  that contain button batteries.
The code addresses the hazard of button batteries becoming lodged in the esophagus of young children. When this happens, residual electrical energy combines with saliva to create hydroxides that burn the adjacent tissue. Failure to remove coin-sized lithium button batteries within two hours can lead to perforation of the esophagus wall, formation of fistulas (passages between organs or into blood vessels), or vocal cord paralysis. A child who has a button battery lodged in the esophagus may have no immediate symptoms, making it difficult for parents to recognize. There have been a number of deaths and serious injuries from this over the past few years.
The Code prescribes readily available safety features that include the following three essential requirements for affected products:
- The product be designed and manufactured such that the batteries are not accessible to young children when it, or the packaging of any replacement batteries provided, is subjected to normal use or reasonable foreseeable misuse
- Battery compartment is either secured (preferably with a captive screw, a bolt or mechanism) such that it requires a tool to gain access to the batteries, or it requires two or more independent and simultaneous actions to be removed
- A warning statement to be visible at point of sale to advise consumers that the product requires button batteries to operate and that they are hazardous
The code is voluntary, but may be used by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to judge compliance with the Australian Consumer Law requirement that products be fit for purpose and safe.
Throughout our global network, SGS offers consultation and comprehensive testing services (physical/mechanical, chemical, flammability, electrical safety, etc.) covering the full spectrum of international product safety and regulatory standards for a wide range of toys. Our laboratories are internationally recognized by major industry associations, accreditation bodies and authorities. With the largest global network of toy experts and testing facilities around the world (including 3 EU Notified Bodies and about 40 CPSC-Accepted Testing Laboratories), SGS is the partner to trust. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or http://www.sgs.com/toys.
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