Danger to a buttoned battery for children could lead to a new Australian ban on unsafe products

Because button batteries are increasingly common in household items, including TV remotes, cameras, watches and scales, children are more likely to be injured, according to a study by dr. Barker, head of the Injury Surveillance Unit of Queensland.

this year nine cases of serious injury have been reported in NSW and Queensland, almost double what was expected. Approximately 20 children who swallow batteries (often they think that Trent thinks they are lollies) are hospitalized every week. Every day the poison helpless is called by a parent who fears that a child has swallowed a battery. About one older adult also calls every week because he or she has swallowed a battery from a hearing aid.

Doctors and consumer groups, including Choice, urge the federal government to make faster efforts to make it an unsafe product in Australia. They say that injuries and deaths will only stop if the law is changed.

A survey by Choice showed that 80 percent of Australians thought it illegal to sell unsafe products – it is not.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission supports the change, saying that prevention is the only way to stop injuries and deaths.

"If we really want to take product safety seriously, we must stop unsafe goods entering the market," said Vice-President Delia Rickard of ACCC.

Federal Treasury is currently evaluating the costs of introducing a new safety standard and looking at who should be responsible when products are defective.

Mrs. Rickard said it was a big, complex reform that people were working on, but it would take some time.

It has yet to be approved by the federal cabinet, she said.

Last year, 3,000 reported injuries and deaths from unsafe products were reported to the ACCC. Mrs Rickard said that these were "just the tip of the iceberg".

Many parents hesitate to report injury for fear of censorship by others. Someone must be injured to recall a product. There are about 600 recalls of unsafe products every year, but very often products that are identical to the recalled products are sold online or by importers of cheaper versions.

Mrs. Rickard said the problems with button cell batteries showed the necessity of introducing a general safety

"At present, it is not illegal to sell unsafe goods." We have a regime that is reactive, so when it is recognized that it is an unsafe good in the market, there are a whole series of steps that we can take to have it removed. "

Sarah Agar, the head of campaigns and policies with the advocate and publisher of the consumer, Choice, said that a series of high-profile problems with product safety have demonstrated the need for a change in the law.

"We can see that Samsung washing machines catch fire, we are seeing Thermomixen exploding and children are being injured by button cell batteries," Agar said.

Only a small number of Australian goods are subject to mandatory or voluntary safety standards, and many standards are outdated. A Choice study of products subject to mandatory or voluntary standards showed that, for example, 98% of portable baby cots and 68% of baby cots were unsafe.

Agar said that it was impossible for regulators to inspect each product. "We need an overarching rule that states that all products must be safe."

Today, coin-cell batteries are everywhere, says the coroner who investigates the death of Summer. And no one has ever discovered the source of the battery that killed her.

for toys for children up to 36 months, the battery compartment must be safe so that it can not be opened by a child and the buttons are visible.

  Three-year-old Trent swallowed a coin-cell battery like the one he is holding. He was lucky enough to survive.

Three-year-old Trent swallowed a coin-cell battery as he holds it. He was lucky enough to survive.

Photo: Wolter Peeters

While the batteries of good quality were toys is usually stored safely, those in ordinary household products are less uncertain. The danger is greatest in novelties and cheap products such as tea lights that are sold in discount stores, even those often sold on the fathers day sales of the school that is run by parents and citizens to raise money.

Trent's mother, Mrs Macfadyen of North Rocks, cleaned the house of batteries, including in calculators and remote controls. The source of the battery that Trent swallowed was a toy for an older child – not covered by the standard – that his eight-year-old brother Kobe had opened during experimentation to see if button batteries were magnetic.

When someone gets stuck, it's "worse than sour," said Jared Brown, director of the NSW Poison Information Center at Westmead Children's Hospital.

The 3 volt 20mm button batteries are often the worst, because they can hold a charge for up to 10 years and they are big enough to accommodate the child's esophagus. When they come into contact with body fluids, such as mucus or saliva in a nice warm environment, they create a circuit that releases a substance such as caustic soda, which is a strong alkali that can burn through tissue. [1945979]

Like many experts, Dr. Barker that prevention is the only real way to stop these injuries and eradicate the risk.

The industry reacts very often to reports of injuries and deaths by offering a warning label: "I like saying a warning label is a recognition: it says we know this product is dangerous, but we have not redesigned it "said Dr. Barker.

No comment was available from business groups before the deadline.

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