Following the death of a four year girl in Brisbane in 2013 as a result of oesophageal perforation after ingesting a button battery, the Coroner has completed an inquest into the death and made a series of recommendations regarding the sale and use of button batteries.
The following recommendations are of note to retailers in particular:
Recommendation 2 – Manufacturers, distributors and retailers of products containing button batteries
All manufacturers, distributors and retailers of products containing button batteries are called upon to:
a. Place adequate warnings on their packaging, on the products themselves, and within User Manuals that identify the presence of a button battery and that the battery is a health hazard if ingested or inserted; and
b. Ensure that button batteries are not supplied with their product in away that is easy accessible to small children. This should be achieved by implementing an existing child resistant packaging standard for battery packaging and by implementing the existing toy standard to ensure that batteries are secured in a child resistant battery compartment within the product.
Recommendation 3 – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
409. That the ACCC:
a. Rapidly develop regulation for the federal government’s consideration, which mandates (through an Australian Standard or otherwise):
(i). a horizontal standard, requiring all button battery compartments within products to be secured so that they are child resistant;
(ii). a current child resistant packaging standard for nonpharmaceutical products (currently AS 5808- 2009 for non reclosable packaging or AS 1928-2007 for re-closeable packaging) to all battery packaging.