Today, thanks to the tireless work of parent advocates and CPSC staff, consumer products from remote controls, to light-up shoes, to greeting cards that use button or coin cell batteries will face safety testing to ensure that young kids can’t access the batteries. Over 70 children have died, and tens of thousands have found themselves in emergency rooms, after swallowing button batteries. Congress and President Biden—through Reese’s Law (August 16, 2022)—directed CPSC to fix this problem, and they told us to act quickly. We did.
There was no time to waste. In recent years (2016-21), at least 27 children died after swallowing button batteries. Every day without an enforceable rule allowed more unsafe products on the market. That is why I am grateful that all Commissioners joined together to not only adopt a strong safety rule, but also to require prompt enforcement. Parents should know and expect that the products they buy are safe for their families.
The Commission is being both ambitious and realistic in exercising limited enforcement discretion. Congress directed that today’s rule must take effect immediately upon the Commission’s decision. To avoid hardship during the transition to full compliance, while honoring the clear intent of Congress to move rapidly, we are announcing that enforcement will begin 180 days after the rule is published. But make no mistake: manufacturers shouldn’t wait six months—I expect them to comply with the rule ASAP. Compliance with CPSC’s rule on button and coin cell batteries will save lives.