Warning about button batteries in Christmas toys

Parents and others buying children's Christmas toys in West Sussex are being urged to ensure any small '˜button' batteries are securely fixed in place.

A slice of ham burned by a button battery after just 15 minutes contact SUS-160612-101842001
A slice of ham burned by a button battery after just 15 minutes contact SUS-160612-101842001

Button batteries are used to power many children’s toys, but are highly dangerous if accidentally swallowed.

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

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Examples of such products are:

• calculators,

• hearing aids,

• children’s toys,

• small remote controls,

• musical greeting cards,

• animated Christmas decorations,

• children’s thermometers,

• flameless candles and nightlights.

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.

“This can burn a hole through the throat and major blood vessels and children can bleed to death.”

David Barling, the county council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “We really urge parents and carers to ensure all products that use button batteries have the battery compartment properly secured so that a child can’t access them. It is not worth the risk.”

If you have bought a toy that allows easy access to button cell batteries you can let Trading Standards online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.

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