More than a third of products containing potentially lethal button batteries failed to include mandatory warnings, a national surveillance program coordinated by the ACCC has revealed.

The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies examined more than 400 businesses and found concerning levels of non-compliance with the button battery information standards introduced last year. Mandatory standards apply to button batteries and products containing them, to ensure the batteries cannot be easily removed (safety standard) and that consumers are warned about the dangers (information standard).

While more than 90 per cent of products and button batteries assessed likely complied with the safety standards based on a visual inspection, 34 per cent of products containing the batteries and 28 per cent of packs of button batteries did not include mandatory warning information or symbols.

In Australia, three children have died from inserting or ingesting these batteries. When a battery is swallowed, a chemical reaction occurs that burns through tissue and seriously injures vital organs.

“Button batteries are incredibly dangerous for young children. If swallowed, a button battery can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause catastrophic injuries,” ACCC Deputy Chair, Catriona Lowe said.

“In partnership with state and territory consumer law regulators we undertook surveillance which included visiting stores around the country and online to check if products and button batteries being sold meet the requirements of the standards.”

“Although it was encouraging to see that most button battery products likely adhered to the accessibility requirements, we are concerned about the levels of compliance with the information and warning requirements.”

“It’s critical that businesses include safety information and emergency advice on button batteries and packaging, so consumers understand the risks associated with these products,” Ms Lowe said.

Since the button battery safety and information standards commenced 1 year ago, the ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies have issued infringement notices, seized products, negotiated voluntary recalls and sent warnings to companies that failed to comply with the standards. 

“These world-first standards were introduced to keep young children safe and all businesses and suppliers within the supply chain are responsible for ensuring the products they supply comply with the rules,” Ms Lowe said

“We will continue to investigate complaints and reports of non-compliance and take action against businesses who fail to do the right thing.”

In April 2023, The Reject Shop and Dusk paid a total of nearly $240,000 after the ACCC issued them with infringement notices related to the supply of Halloween novelty products containing button batteries, allegedly without complying with mandatory safety and information standards.

The ACCC and state and territory regulators also found many products and button batteries sold on online platforms may not comply with the safety and information requirements. For example, the surveillance identified battery compartments that may not be child-resistant, and missing important warning information.

“We encourage online suppliers to follow the recommendations in the standards and include warning information and emergency advice about button battery products in online listings so consumers have the same safety information they would have if purchasing from a physical store,” Ms Lowe said.

“Consumers need to be alert to the risks associated with button battery products when shopping online or buying from overseas traders, as whilst the standard encourages provision of safety information it is not required so may not always be provided upfront.”

“Button batteries are used in everyday household items and children’s toys. Consumers should check the house for unsafe button batteries, including products that were purchased before the button battery standards were introduced last year,” Ms Lowe said.

Consumers who suspect a child has swallowed or inserted a button battery, should contact the 24/7 Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for fast, expert advice. Consumers are urged to get help immediately and not wait for symptoms to develop.

ACCC guidance for businesses and consumers

The ACCC has published a fact sheet and guide for businesses on the mandatory standards to assist businesses with meeting their obligations.

Consumers are encouraged to report safety incidents (including near misses) to the supplier involved and concerns about unsafe products to the ACCC at the Product Safety Australia website. A list of recalled products is available on the Product Safety Australia website.


The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies conducted national button battery surveillance of more than 400 businesses and eight online platforms. Compliance was assessed based on matters that could be determined in a visual inspection.

Of the 819 products assessed in stores, 66 per cent were compliant with the information standards and 93 per cent were likely compliant with the safety standards.

Of the 684 button batteries assessed in stores, 72 per cent were compliant with the information standards and 96 per cent were likely compliant with the safety standards.

Many potentially non-compliant products and button batteries were also identified on eight online platforms.

Notes to editors

Four mandatory button battery standards operate in Australia to reduce the risk of death and injury associated with their use.

The safety standards include requirements for child safe packaging and secure battery compartments. The information standards require warning information and emergency advice to be displayed on packaging and batteries.

To demonstrate compliance with the safety standards, businesses must test products containing button batteries and button battery packaging to applicable standards before supply to a consumer. This cannot be assessed based on a visual inspection alone. The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies may request test reports as proof of compliance.

The ACCC consulted and engaged extensively with industry during the 18-month transition period before the standards became mandatory, including working with businesses to explain the changes that would be required to comply with the new standards.