Button and Coin Cell Batteries

From wearables to audio devices, all devices need power. Increasingly, the solution for many smaller and often portable products, is to use button batteries (non-lithium) or coin cell (lithium). 

From wearables to audio devices, all devices need power. Increasingly, the solution for many smaller and often portable products, is to use ‘button batteries’ (non-lithium) or ‘coin cell’ (lithium).  

Due to their small size and electrical performance, the popularity of these battery types is flourishing, and as their numbers grow, so too do the hazards they present.   

The proliferation of coin and button cells, and the resulting harm to people – especially children, has driven the introduction of regulations around the world to help keep people safe. 

Global Standards have been introduced to address key product areas such as the security of battery compartments and to ensure comprehensive product and packaging labelling. In the United Kingdom, PAS:2021 is the relevant national Standard that was published in April 2021. In Australia from June 2022 onwards, compliance with applicable safety and information standards is mandatory for manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers of button/coin batteries as well as for consumer goods that contain these batteries.

Examples of the safety labels for products using coin and button batteries and their packaging, are shown below. Additional safety labels exist that are specific to button battery storage.  

Hazardous situations exist for people when: 

  • Spare batteries are insecurely stored  
  • Additional batteries supplied with a new product are not packaged securely 
  • Flat batteries are not disposed of properly and are left lying around 
  • It is very easy to gain access to the battery in a product. 

There are sound practices for those who purchase products to help keep the people who are around those products, safer. These practices include:

  • Only choosing products with a securely sealed battery compartment 
  • Only buying batteries that come in childproof packaging  
  • Storing spare batteries securely in a container that requires some form of tool to open or needs two or more independent AND simultaneous actions to open. 
  • Regularly checking products to ensure battery compartments are secure 
  • Always checking medicines before taking them to avoid mistaking batteries for medicine 
  • Wrapping a flat battery in tape to make it less likely to short circuit and also less attractive for people to put in their mouths. 
  • Placing a wrapped flat battery into a childproof container before securely disposing of it at a designated recycling centre. 

Ingesting a button or coin battery is extremely serious and has the potential to cause catastrophic injury or death. Ingestion does require immediate medical attention, but unfortunately, the symptoms that relate to ingesting a battery are highly variable and not necessarily obvious. Possible symptoms may include gagging or choking, drooling, chest pain (grunting), coughing or noisy breathing, food refusal, black or red bowel motions, nose bleeds, spitting blood or blood-stained saliva, unexplained vomiting, fever, abdominal pain or general discomfort. There is one symptom that if it occurs, is strongly related to button battery ingestion, which is the vomiting of fresh (bright red) blood.

Safe Use of Batteries in Chiptech Products

Battery safety is a key aspect of design for Chiptech products, and users of them can be confident that they own a product that’s safe and easy to use. 

Chiptech personal help buttons (Pearl) have a solder-in non-replaceable battery and are designed to be permanently sealed, and impact resistant. They are individually drop-tested to ensure they are properly sealed.  

The original Chiptech SID devices featured a soldered-in battery that is not able to be replaced by the end user or service provider. When the battery is flat the SID can be returned to Chiptech for servicing, or it can be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner.  

The newer SID V2 devices have a replaceable battery for ease of servicing, they also feature a new case with a dual-opening mechanism to ensure battery security. Batteries should only be replaced, and the device tested, by a trained service technician or installer. Care should be taken when handling the replacement battery and the flat battery. Batteries should be stored safely, and flat batteries disposed of in a safe manner.   

The Chiptech GO contains a lithium button battery, which is secured in a case that is never to be opened by an end user, the case is impact resistant and will not expose the battery through a fall or drop. Additional protection is provided through the use of recessed security screws that require a customised tool to be undone.   

If any Chiptech product that contains a battery becomes physically damaged, there could be a risk of that battery becoming accessible or even separated from the device, and in this situation Chiptech recommends that the entire product is securely taped up and disposed of safely and responsibly.  

For information on batteries, warnings and storage recommendations, please refer to the individual product’s User Guide, or Technical Specification document.

Recycling Batteries

Batteries can be recycled to recover valuable and hazardous metals such as lithium, mercury, and cobalt for re-use, and to keep them out of the environment. Recycling batteries eliminates the risk of them causing fires in landfill areas which can then release toxic gases. To recycle button batteries safely, they should be taped up to prevent short-circuiting and to make them less attractive to people to consume, and then taken to an e-waste recycling facility. 

Button batteries and coin cells are a great power solution for small devices however they do come with unique safety responsibilities for industry, the supply chain, and the user.

You may also like