Close-up of button batteries.
 
 
 
 
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Sign the petition for safe products

It should be illegal to sell unsafe products. No child should be put in hospital because of dangerous button batteries.

 

Add your name to tell the Consumer Affairs Minister that businesses should have to make sure the things they sell in Australia are safe.

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Demand an end to dangerous button batteries

Button batteries have killed two children in Australia since 2013. These products have seriously injured scores more. 

The industry knows they have a problem. There is a voluntary code that sets out exactly how to make products containing button batteries safe, but too many businesses are ignoring it. CHOICE testing in February 2019 found that 10 out of 17 common household products containing button batteries did not meet the requirements of the code – children would be able to easily access, and swallow, the button batteries. 

Why is this happening? Because there aren't serious, financial consequences for businesses doing the wrong thing. The code is voluntary with no fines for non-compliance, and more broadly it is not illegal to sell unsafe products in Australia.

With deadly button batteries, dangerous cots and strollers, exploding Thermomixes and Takata airbags all making headlines and injuring Australians, it’s clear we need stronger product safety laws in Australia.

How many more children will die or be maimed by button batteries and other dangerous products before this loophole in the law is fixed?

Infographic depicting 10 household products with button batteries which failed CHOICE's safety tests.

FAQs

In July 2018, CHOICE released safety test results for cots and strollers showing that alarming numbers fail key safety tests.

Despite having certification to say they pass legal requirements, a large number of the products we tested consistently fail to meet the mandatory standard, the voluntary standard, or both:

  • Portable cots (60 tested from 2011–2018): 98% or 59 failed
  • Strollers (129 tested from 2012–2018): 91% or 118 failed
  • Cots (139 tested from 2012–2017): 68% or 94 failed

Some of these tested products carry risks of strangulation, suffocation or finger, limb, neck and head entrapment, while others may allow a baby to fall out onto the ground or pierce their skin on sharp protruding edges.

The failures are categorised as:

  • very minor (for example, warning labels not present)
  • minor (for example, sharp edges, finger entrapment hazards)
  • serious (for example, suffocation or strangulation hazards).

We want a new law for safe products. This will be a simple, clear law that says if you’re a business who sells a product in Australia, it must be safe. If the law is breached, it should attract a hefty fine.

We also want the voluntary code for button battery safety to be made mandatory, with fines for businesses who don't comply. Many children have been directly injured by button batteries, and two children in Australia have died. The risks of button batteries are extremely serious, and we know exactly how to make these products safe - keep the batteries secured. The voluntary code sets out how to do this, and it should be mandatory. 

It will encourage businesses to think about the safety of their products earlier – with the threat of being hit with big fines if they don’t.

Under the current law, businesses tend to react to product safety problems. We want them to actively try to prevent them. We see individuals fight for remedies after a product injures them, or a business may launch a voluntary recall months or years after becoming aware of a safety risk. This isn’t good enough – we want safer markets.

This new law will give businesses a better incentive to make sure their products are safe before they start selling them.

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