Summer Steer.
Summer Steer.

'Childproof' battery moves after death of Summer Steer

THE death of Summer Steer may have saved the lives of hundreds of Australian children.

Warnings on battery packaging will be improved, child-resistant packaging will be introduced, and children will find it difficult to take batteries from devices.

Four-year-old Summer, of Tewantin, died after after swallowing a lithium battery the size of a button.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission met with battery manufacturers, retailers and importers last Friday to discuss ways to make the products safer for children.

They agreed to:

  • Immediately strengthen consumer education activities, including support for The Battery Controlled campaign (an existing ACCC and Kidsafe industry initiative)
  • Improve the warnings on the packaging for lithium coin cell batteries supplied to consumers
  • Introduce child-resistant packaging as quickly as practicable
  • Work with suppliers of devices that use these batteries to improve warnings and designs to prevent children from taking batteries from the device, and
  • Continue efforts to develop safer battery designs.

ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said it had been concerned about the number of severe injuries to children from lithium coin cell batteries for some time.

She said Summer's death heightened the importance of improving safety management of batteries.

"Attendees recognised the importance of an internationally consistent approach given the global nature of the industry," Ms Rickard said.

"The meeting noted that several international industry standards would soon include button battery requirements and those could then be adopted in Australia.

"The ACCC will continue to work with international agencies on this important safety concern."

Ms Rickard said attendees would be required to provide the ACCC with written commitments and detailed plans on the agreed safety improvements.

The ACCC will also monitor progress and consider whether further action is required.

More information is available at www.productsafety.gov.au and www.thebatterycontrolled.com.au.



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