The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is concerned about reports wristbands containing two lithium button batteries were offered to the crowd of 30,000 at the Gabba during the AFL Grand Final on Saturday.
The ACCC claims there are early reports the button batteries are not properly secured in the wristbands that were handed out to fans on the day two Queensland parents came forward to tell of their devastation at the loss of their young daughter.
Lorraine and David Conway on Saturday called for urgent regulation of the batteries, after their little girl Brittney died after swallowing one in July.
The three-year-old swallowed the battery, which then burned through her oesophagus and into her aorta.
Speaking publicly for the first time about the death of their youngest child, the Conways said little Brittney died on July 28 at the Queensland Children’s hospital, three weeks after swallowing the battery.
Every day in Australia there is at least one child who needs to be hospitalised because they have swallowed a button battery.
The most common age for this is between the ages of zero to four years old, with body regions affected including the bowel, oesophagus, nose and ear.
The small, shiny batteries are often used in common household items including TV or key remotes, scales and toys and once swallowed, they start to burn internally causing lifelong injuries or death.
Kidsafe chief executive Susan Teerds said the regulation of button batteries was critical.
“For 40 years companies have been dumping these, what I call landmines, into our homes and they’ve known they’re problematic,” Ms Teerds said.
- If you think a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for 24/7 fast, expert advice. You will be directed to an appropriate medical facility that can manage the injury. Prompt action is critical. Do not wait for symptoms to develop.
- Symptoms may include 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 a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, you should ask for an x-ray from a hospital emergency department to make sure.
- Keep new and used button batteries out of sight and out of reach of small children at all times – even old or spent button batteries can retain enough charge to cause life-threatening injuries.
- If buying a toy, household device or novelty item, look for products that do not use button batteries at all, such as products powered by other types of batteries or rechargeable products that do not need button batteries to be replaced.
- Examine products and make sure the compartment that houses the button battery is child-resistant, such as being secured with a screw. Check the product does not release the battery and it is difficult for a child to access. If the battery compartment does not close securely, stop using the product and keep it away from children.
- Dispose of used button batteries immediately. As soon as you have finished using a button battery, put sticky tape around both sides of the battery and dispose of immediately in an outside bin, out of reach of children, or recycle safely.
- Tell others about the risk associated with button batteries and how to keep their children safe.
Originally published as Major safety fears over Gabba Grand Final freebies