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New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has recently submitted a product safety policy statement to the New Zealand’s Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for release to the press. The Product Safety Policy statement is to address the risks associated with button batteries in household goods, especially for children under the age of three.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 078/18

SafeGuardS button cell battery pack

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has recently submitted a product safety policy statement to the New Zealand’s Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for release to the press. The Product Safety Policy statement is to address the risks associated with button batteries in household goods, especially for children under the age of three. Button batteries can pose risk to children through choking and can cause severe burns if swallowed, thereby endangering the life of the child. 

However, the scope of the policy statement goes even beyond the household products, and encourages manufacturers to consider products not specifically intended for use in the domestic setting (e.g. medical or scientific equipment)

The policy states two simple criteria to be considered safe:

  • Battery compartments for button batteries should have two mechanisms for release and both must be activated for the battery compartment to open
  • Products should pass tests to help ensure that with expected everyday use, battery compartments cannot be accidentally opened or become insecure; or result in the release of the batteries

The below standards were highlighted to assist manufacturers in the design, manufacture and sourcing of safer button batteries:

  • AS/NZS 8124.1:2016 Safety of toys – Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  • ISO 8124-1:2018 Safety of toys – Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  • EN 71-1 Safety of toys – Part 1: Mechanical and physical properties
  • ASTM F963-17 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toys Safety
  • UL 4200A:2015 – Standard for Safety for Products Incorporating Button or Coin Cell Batteries of Lithium Technologies

In addition, button batteries must be supplied in packaging that is child-resistant, and marked with a warning of the hazards to children. Packaging should advise consumers to keep button batteries away from children and to dispose used batteries properly.

For further information on the MBIE Product Safety Policy Statement please click here.

Next step:

Stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest safety standards for toys and household goods with button batteries in New Zealand.  Although currently voluntary, MBIE will continually monitor the situation and monitor manufacturer’s compliance with the product safety policy statement every 2-3 years.

MBIE Product Safety Policy Statement [1]

For enquiries, please contact:

James Park
Consumer and Retail
Sr. Battery Engineer
t: +1 (410) 903-7257

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