Government of Canada Warns of Button Battery Dangers during International Product Safety Week

Global awareness campaign highlights product safety around the world

OTTAWA, June 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada is joining governments from around the world to highlight product safety and related issues during International Product Safety Week 2014, from June 16 to 20. This year's theme is button battery safety.

Each year dozens of children in Canada visit emergency rooms after unintentionally ingesting button-type batteries. These small, coin shaped batteries that power many common household items and children's toys contain harmful substances like acids and heavy metals that can cause serious internal chemical burns or poisoning if ingested. Although button batteries in toys are usually locked in place, they can be found in unsecured places like musical greeting cards, remote controls, books, flashing jewelry, small electronic devices and novelty items.

Prevention is the key to keeping children safe from injury from button batteries. Canadian parents and caregivers are reminded to:

  • Make sure the button batteries in household products stay securely contained in the products for which they are intended.
  • Supervise children when they use products containing button batteries.
  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries or remove them from household products.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect your child has swallowed a battery. Do not let the child eat or drink, and do not induce vomiting until medical attention is received.

While button-type batteries have unique risks associated with them, all types of batteries can pose a health risk if not properly installed, used, stored or discarded. Parents and caregivers can learn more at our Healthy Canadians web page on Battery Safety.

Health Canada's participation in International Product Safety Week represents the Department's commitment to working globally on product safety issues. It's also one of the trilateral initiatives identified at the North American Consumer Product Safety Summit hosted in Ottawa in September 2013, attended by Minister of Health Rona Ambrose and her product safety counterparts from the United States and Mexico.

Quick Facts

  • In 2011, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act came into force, giving the Government stronger and more modern legislative powers to help protect Canadians from unreasonably dangerous consumer products.
  • Since 2006, an average of 65 emergency room visits per year has been associated with button batteries. Of these incidents, 70% were ingestion incidents.
  • Children under five years of age are most at risk, as they're most likely to mouth and potentially swallow objects such as button batteries which are small and shiny, and therefore attractive to young children.
  • It's important to act quickly if your child has ingested a battery. Button cell batteries can cause serious internal chemical burns in as little as two hours if swallowed.

"The Government of Canada is proud to participate in International Product Safety Week alongside government partners from around the world. With consumer product safety truly being a global affair, these types of collaborative efforts are critical to protecting the health and safety of our citizens."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is playing a leading role in bringing together regulators from across the globe to tackle the enormous product safety challenges we all face. Information sharing is the key to making a difference. Sharing information on the serious injuries and deaths of children who have ingested button batteries - the small circular lithium batteries that are used to power a growing number of gadgets and toys - is a case in point."
Andrew Wyckoff
Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry

Associated Links

Healthy Canadians - Battery Safety
Health Canada - Is your Child Safe?

SOURCE: Health Canada

For further information:

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Public Inquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:

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