An emergency paediatrician has a simple message for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, challenging him to “get off his arse” and outlaw the button batteries that are injuring and killing Australian kids.
It’s not good enough
Dr Ruth Barker works with the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit and she told 10News that something needs to be done to stop the scores of children she sees presenting to hospital after swallowing these insidious batteries being harmed.
“The solution is stopping it in the first place by not buying button batteries, or making it more difficult to stop kids accessing them,” Dr Barker told 10 News.
Yesterday medical professionals like Dr Barker, parents, product safety campaigners and industry experts converged on Parliament House in Canberra demanding legislative action against the hundreds of unsafe products being sold in Australia every day – including button batteries.
CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland is leading the charge. Alan says the widespread marketing of dangerous products has got to stop.
“We have a simple ask for Australia’s politicians, that is to install a simple rule that says it should be illegal to sell a product that’s unsafe in Australia.”
Mums Allison Rees and Andrea Shoesmith were in Canberra too, sadly connected by the tragic experience they’ve both endured. They held photos of their little girls, aged 18 months and four years. Both died after swallowing button batteries.
“A button battery took my daughter away from me. Something needs to be done about safer products containing button batteries, ” Andrea told 10 News. Her little girl Summer died in 2013.
“They’re everywhere. They’re in the grandparent’s home, the aunt’s, the uncle’s, the neighbour’s,” she said.
“It’s been four years since I lost Bella and there have been countless injuries to children because of button batteries,” mum Alison Rees told 7News. “Some can’t eat, have breathing injuries, others are paralysed. Something should have been done a lot earlier.”
⚠️ It is still NOT illegal to sell unsafe products in Australia. ⚠️ especially those containing button batteries.Today we are meeting with members of Parliament to share Bella and Summers story and fight for new product safety laws.
Posted by Bella's Footprints – Button Battery Awareness on Tuesday, September 10, 2019
“Landmines in our lounge rooms”
When swallowed a button battery begins burning its way through the body, and parents and doctors are often unaware of what’s happened until its too late.
“Those children are walking dead until you pull that battery out, and even after you pull the battery out, it still keeps eating through the tissue,” said Dr Barker said.
“These products look really innocuous, but they are landmines in our lounge rooms.”
Kids Safe also want the government to introduce new legislation to warn buyers, and make it illegal to sell dangerous products.
While a review of button batteries is on the cards for later this year, that’s not soon enough and kids are being harmed or worse in the meantime.
“It’s taking too long,” Susan Teerds, the CEO of Kids Safe, says. “Do we need more children to die before we get traction on this?”