On December 17, 2020, 18-month-old Reese Hamsmith died from injuries sustained when she swallowed a coin cell battery. Since that time, her mother, Trista Hamsmith, has worked tirelessly to protect other children from the hazards posed by these small batteries. Called coin cell or button batteries because of their size and shape, these batteries are found in everyday household products and can be deadly if swallowed.
Ms. Hamsmith engaged with Congressional champions – including Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn, as well as Reps. Robin Kelly and Jodey Arrington – who pushed for legislation to strengthen safety standards for battery packaging and the products that use these batteries. Thanks to their determined efforts, Reese’s Law was signed by President Biden in August 2022.
I am pleased that the CPSC is issuing final rules implementing Reese’s Law. We’ve made a determination that the newly updated UL standard for battery enclosures on consumer products meets the requirements of the law. And we’ve issued a final rule regarding warnings on button and coin cell battery packaging. Together, these rules will improve safety for children nationwide.
Reese’s Law and the Commission’s action today make strong safety requirements for battery enclosures on consumer products the law of the land. Recognizing that industry will need to improve the safety of their products and there will be limited testing ability for this universe of products that have never had to be tested for compliance with such standards, we are providing a 180-day period of enforcement discretion.
I thank Trista Hamsmith and the Congressional champions of this legislation for all of their work to provide the Commission with expedited authority to address this safety hazard. I also want to thank the CPSC staff for providing the necessary support and analysis to bring us to this important moment. With these changes, we will help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from these consumer products. I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to do our part to finalize this important mandatory safety standard.