CPSC proposed a strong new safety standard to protect kids from the serious ingestion hazard posed by button cell and coin batteries. The proposed rule would require batteries in common household items (such as remotes, light-up apparel, and musical greeting cards) to be inaccessible to children ages six and younger. Combined with the stronger battery packaging requirements that are set to go into effect, children will be far more protected from life-threatening battery ingestion.
Today’s proposed rule covers small batteries in everything except toys, pursuant to Congressional directive. There is already a standard to make small batteries in toys inaccessible to kids. However, CPSC staff evaluated the toy standard, and found it to be insufficiently protective. That evaluation is supported by the numbers, as toys were responsible for an estimated 37% of battery ingestion incidents where the battery came from a product.
The toy industry can, and should, adopt a more protective standard for children’s toys. On January 26, Commissioner Mary Boyle sent a letter to the group that developed the voluntary standard for toys and urged it to voluntarily upgrade its standard, to stop more children from dying. We expect swift action on Commissioner Boyle’s request. If not, we will have to consider whether additional rulemaking specific to children’s toys is necessary.
Consumer Product Safety Commission, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Safety Standard and Notification Requirements for Button Cell or Coin Batteries and Consumer Products Containing Such Batteries, OS-116 (available at: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/NoticeofProposedRulemakingSafetyStandardandNotificationRequirementsforButtonCellorCoinBatteriesandConsumerProductsContainingSuchBatteries.pdf?VersionId=kDinNeydktkt3T8RRtzN4u1GTXPRjpEl) (Jan. 11, 2023).