Button battery warning: Child requires emergency surgery after ECEC battery ingestion

Button battery warning: Child requires emergency surgery after ECEC battery ingestion

by Freya Lucas

November 12, 2021

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services are being warned to be extra vigilant about the presence of button batteries in the learning environment after a child required emergency surgery after swallowing a battery whilst in care. 

 

The provider involved is working closely with the regulatory authority and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to investigate the October 11 serious incident, sending an email to all parents across its 330 strong network on Monday advising them of the incident and appealing to all families to regularly check children’s bags, sheets, belongings, pockets and toys to ensure that no button batteries are brought into the centre.

 

“Our primary concern at all times is the health and safety of all children who attend (our) centres and we are devastated that one of the children in our care was injured,” a statement from the provider read.

 

“We have formally communicated with Kidsafe Queensland details of the incident and will work with Kidsafe Queensland regarding our practices and procedures.” 

 

The dangers of button batteries 

 

The Sector has previously published information highlighting the dangers of button batteries, which can quickly cause life long injuries or death when swallowed through internal burns. 

 

Three Australian children have died through ingesting button batteries since 2013. Speaking with the ABC, CEO of Kidsafe Queensland, Susan Teerds, said one death was too many and the figures worldwide would be much higher.

 

“Unfortunately, we have had three deaths in this country, but there have been thousands of deaths around the world,” Ms Teerds said, urging everyone in the community to be vigilant about using and disposing of button battery products.

 

There are four mandatory standards for button batteries and products containing button batteries, which require secure battery compartments for any item that contains button batteries, safety testing of those compartments, child-resistant packaging for the batteries themselves, and product warnings to alert customers that the product that they are buying contains a button battery.

 

In addition to existing child-resistant packaging, Duracell launched new child protective technology in April to help minimise the risk of accidental ingestion.

 

To access the ABC coverage of this story, see here. Information about button battery safety is available here

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