WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a mandatory standard to reduce the hazards associated with button cell and coin battery ingestion by children six years and younger. These small but potentially deadly batteries are commonly found in a wide array of consumer products, including keyless entry remotes, wireless game controllers, toys, and musical greeting cards.
Under the authority of Reese's Law, enacted on August 16, 2022, CPSC has now made it mandatory for manufacturers and importers to adhere to the ANSI/UL 4200A-2023 Standard for Safety for Products Incorporating Button Batteries or Coin Cell Batteries. This new rule encompasses labeling requirements on the packaging of such batteries, warning of the ingestion hazard to children.
The stakes are high, as the ingestion of button cell or coin batteries by a child can lead to immediate and potentially fatal consequences. These batteries can burn through a child’s throat or esophagus in as little as two hours if swallowed. Alarming statistics from 2011 through 2021 show 27 deaths and approximately 54,300 injuries treated in emergency rooms associated with ingested or inserted button cell or coin batteries.
Reese's Law also mandates that any button cell or coin battery offered for sale after February 12, 2023, must meet child-resistant packaging requirements in accordance with the Poison Prevention Packaging Standards.
The ANSI/UL 4200A-2023 standard, in line with Reese's Law, requires secure battery compartments, typically requiring tools like a screwdriver or coin for opening. Additionally, these products must pass performance tests simulating foreseeable use or misuse. The standard also entails labeling requirements for consumer products containing these batteries and their packaging.
To keep children safe from these dangers, parents and caregivers are urged to take precautions:
- Keep products with accessible batteries away from children if the battery compartments lack secure closures.
- If a battery compartment is damaged, promptly replace or dispose of the product.
- Toys with button cell or coin batteries should feature a secure closure that requires a screwdriver, coin, or tool for opening.
- Regularly inspect toys to ensure battery compartments are securely closed.
- Do not permit children to handle or play with button cell or coin batteries.
- In the event of suspected ingestion or exposure to these batteries, call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666 or the Poison Help Line at 800-222-1222 for immediate treatment guidance.
- If a child is believed to have swallowed a button cell or coin battery, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency department. The National Capital Poison Center recommends administering honey to children over 12 months old on the way to the hospital, following specific guidelines to reduce potential injury before battery removal.
In conclusion, the adoption of this new safety standard and the continued vigilance of parents and caregivers are crucial steps in protecting young children from the grave dangers associated with button cell and coin batteries.