Safety warning over button batteries in children’s Christmas toys

Parents and others buying children’s Christmas toys are being urged to check that any small ‘button’ batteries are securely fixed in place.

A slice of ham burned by a button battery after 15 minutes (photo submitted). SUS-151127-091732001
A slice of ham burned by a button battery after 15 minutes (photo submitted). SUS-151127-091732001

They are used to power many children’s toys, but are highly dangerous if accidently swallowed.

Peter Aston, West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards manager, said: “This is not scaremongering. As well as being a choking hazard, if a button battery is swallowed by a child, the electrical charge creates caustic soda inside the body.

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“This can burn a hole through the throat and major blood vessels and children can bleed to death. We shall be buying a selection of cheap button battery powered toys in the run-up to Christmas to check they are safe.”

The warning follows an awareness campaign by the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “We really urge parents and carers to ensure all toys that use button batteries have the battery compartment properly secured to meet the required toy safety standards.

“There are many cheap imports where this is not the case. Before buying, we suggest people check to make sure the batteries aren’t easily accessible to young children.”

Parents and carers are also warned not to leave replacement button cell batteries or items powered by button cells within reach of young children.

Examples of such products that contain button batteries are: calculators, hearing aids, children’s toys, small remote controls, musical greeting cards, animated Christmas decorations, children’s thermometers, and flameless candles and nightlights.

If anyone has bought a toy that allows easy access to button cell batteries they can alert Trading Standards by calling Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit

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