Australia’s regulator is urging parents to keep children away from Apple AirTags due to safety concerns | Photo Credit: Apple
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Australia’s regulator is urging parents to keep children away from Apple AirTags due to safety concerns over its battery. AirTags are small Bluetooth-based tracking devices that can be attached to keys or wallets. They are powered by lithium-ion battery.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) says that the AirTag’s ‘button’ battery can be easily removed, and compartment’s lid does not always secure fully on closing.
"As a safety precaution, we urge parents to keep AirTags away from their children," ACCC said in a statement.
The ACCC said, if swallowed, a button battery can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue, causing death or serious injury. Insertion of the battery into ears and noses could lead to significant injuries.
Three children have died and 44 have been severely injured in Australia from incidents involving button batteries in other products, ACCC noted. It estimates that more than one child a month is seriously injured by inserting batteries contained in several consumer goods worldwide.
Apple states that the AirTag is “designed to meet international child safety standards, … by requiring a two-step push-and-turn mechanism to access the user-replaceable battery”, and that it is “working to ensure that [its] products will meet or exceed new standards.”
Australia introduced mandatory safety and information standards in December last year. This applies to all consumer goods containing button batteries. The mandatory standards were effective from 22 June 2022.
The country will now impose fines on retailers or manufacturers that supply button batteries, or products containing them, that do not comply with the mandatory standards, ACCC said.