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Button/coin batteries

If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a button/coin battery, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 for 24/7 advice. If your child is having any difficulty breathing, contact 000.

In Australia, three children have died, and at least one child a month is seriously injured after swallowing or inserting a button/coin battery, with some of them sustaining lifelong injuries.

What are button batteries?

Button/coin batteries are flat, round, single-cell batteries used in personal and household products such as toys, watches and remote controls.

Why are button batteries unsafe?

If swallowed, a button/coin battery can become stuck in a child’s throat and result in injury and even death. Insertion of button/coin batteries into places such as ears and noses can also lead to significant injuries

Symptoms after swallowing a button battery

The symptoms after swallowing a button/coin battery can be similar to other conditions and may not appear for some time. Symptoms may include (but are not limited to) gagging or choking, drooling, chest pain (grunting), coughing or noisy breathing, food refusal, black or red bowel motions, nose bleeds, spitting blood or blood-stained saliva, unexplained vomiting, fever, abdominal pain or general discomfort. Children are often unable to effectively communicate that they have swallowed or inserted a button battery and may have no symptoms.

If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a button/coin battery, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26.

Mandatory standards

From 22 June 2022, manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers of button/coin batteries or consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries supplied to Australia must comply with the applicable Australian mandatory safety and information standards.

The new standards require that products that contain button batteries must have secure battery compartments to prevent children from gaining access to the batteries. Manufacturers must also undertake compliance testing to demonstrate batteries are secure, supply higher risk batteries in child-resistant packaging, and place additional warnings and emergency advice on packaging and instructions. Supplying or selling non-compliant products to consumers in Australia is illegal.

Home safety

Make sure button/coin battery compartments are secure, batteries are kept out of reach of children and disposed of immediately once used.

For more information on safety and the mandatory standards, visit the Product Safety Australia website.

Updated: 07 Jun 2021

This page has been produced and published by the Consumer Building and Occupational Services Division of the Department of Justice. Although every care has been taken in production, no responsibility is accepted for the accuracy, completeness, or relevance to the user's purpose of the information. Those using it for whatever purpose are advised to verify it with the relevant government department, local government body or other source and to obtain any appropriate professional advice. The Crown, its officers, employees and agents do not accept liability however arising, including liability for negligence, for any loss resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information and/or reliance on its availability at any time.