Young children are at most risk of poisoning from button battery
ingestion. Young children are curious and like to explore by
putting everything in their mouth. This leads to more accidental
A toddler's smaller body size also means they are more likely to
have a button battery caught in the oesophagus, causing serious
Every day in Australia there is at least one child who needs to
go to hospital because of a button battery ingestion.
In 2015, the NSW Poisons Information Centre took 158 calls
regarding button battery exposures.
Of those admitted to The Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW)
between 2002 and 2015:
the majority (67.4%) were 0-4 years.
the body regions affected among all ages included the bowel
(42.9%), oesophagus (30.6%), nose (22.5%) and ear (4.1%).
What are the symptoms of a child who has swallowed a
Children often swallow button batteries without anyone knowing.
Symptoms can include chest pain, coughing, choking, vomiting,
drooling, decreased appetite or refusal to eat, fever, abdominal
pain and general discomfort. Spitting blood or blood-stained
saliva or having very dark stained or black bowel motions, can
indicate bleeding or ulceration somewhere in the upper or lower
How is a swallowed button battery diagnosed?
Your child may need to have an x-ray of the appropriate area to
locate the battery.
Is there a Law or Australian Standard for button
The law, Fair Trading Amendment (Children's Toys) Regulation
2010, states that all toys for children 36 months and under in
Australia must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS ISO
8124.1:2002). The standard states that toys for children 3 years
and younger must have any batteries secured in a compartment by a
screw or must need a couple of distinct movements to open the
Other devices and toys for children over 3 years of age up to
adults, such as thermometers or remote controls do not need
special battery closures.
How can you prevent children from swallowing button
Keep button batteries and all other batteries in a child
resistant locked cupboard that is atleast 1.5 metres above
ground, out of reach of children.
Check that all remotes, toys and products containing button
batteries have a screw to secure them. If the batteries are
not secured in with a screw, keep out of reach of children.
You can also secure the battery compartment with strong tape.
Buy new batteries that are in child resistant packaging ie:
the packets need to be opened with scissors.
Keep spare batteries locked away, out of reach.
Throw old button batteries away carefully, in an outside bin,
out of reach of children.
Call 131126 if you suspect a battery has been swallowed.
Go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Keep all button batteries out of reach of children ie; in a
child resistant locked cupboard that is atleast 1.5metres
above the ground.
Share this information with family and friends.