Tiny batteries can cause big dangers this Christmas

ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) and ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) are urging all Canberran’s to handle new battery powered toys with care to avoid disaster this Christmas.

Although many of the best Christmas gifts hold batteries, these small power units can cause a major health or fire crisis.

ACTAS Chief Officer Howard Wren said that button batteries in particular can cause significant internal injuries if ingested.

“In just a matter of hours, an ingested button battery can cause serious internal burns and bleeding. It is important to keep an eye on your little ones with their Christmas toys and decorations to ensure their safety” said Chief Officer Wren.

“Some signs of an ingested button battery include; coughing or breathing heavily, chest pain or grunting, choking or gagging, vomiting, and bleeding” said Chief Officer Wren.

“If you suspect your child has ingested a button battery call Emergency Triple Zero (000) immediately” said Chief Officer Wren.

ACTF&R Chief Officer Matthew Mavity is encouraging the community to take precautions when handling lithium-ion batteries over the summer period.

“Fires caused by charging batteries happen throughout the year, but the risk is higher in the hotter weather along with battery mishandling” said Chief Officer Mavity

“By following a few battery safety tips, we can help ensure your homes are fire free, and everyone can safely enjoy the season,”

Tips for battery safety this festive season:

  1. Charge batteries safely. Don’t leave charging batteries on beds or couches, and don’t leave them on charge longer than needed.
  2. Don’t leave batteries in direct sunlight or in hot cars and rooms.
  3. Don’t overload power boards with chargers; and
  4. Don’t use ‘after-market’ battery chargers.

To help your kids be fire safe too, Sparkie the fire dog has a great range of educational videos and printable resources on the ACTESA website. These are also great to help keep the kids entertained during the holidays.

For information and tips on how you can Be Emergency Ready this season visit www.esa.act.gov.au