New Australian legislation to protect children from swallowing and choking on button batteries will affect car key battery replacement and fobs from June 2022. Get up to date with the latest safety information standards as any automobile key case that is not sealed or made child proof will need to be updated.
New Australian Standards
The Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) allowed an 18 month period for transition. That period is now over and the ACCC has called on businesses and consumers to check for unsafe products in their homes and cars. From now, they must have secure battery compartments and child resistant packaging in all devices where they are found. Any common household items that include the coin shaped unit will be affected.
The latest standards for products with button batteries prevent children from serious injury. Compliance testing is required. Warnings of the mandatory requirements for all retailers and suppliers as well as parents and relevant publications including health advice are available on the ACCC website. You can get advice and terms by contacting ACCC itself.
Both new and second-hand automobiles will be impacted by these “world first” safety legislation. It is Australia wide.
It is designed to prevent injury or death to children from ingesting the round, coin shaped battery.
ACCC requirements mean that all products using them must be sold in child proof packaging. Key fobs need to be considered safe for a child and no child should be able to open them.
Car Replacement Key Costs to Rise
It is very likely that both car key fob and car prices will rise due to the more stringent
This may mean that some old cases may not be replaced as manufacturers work hard to get their automotive key batteries and cases up to the latest standards.
What is a Button Battery for Vehicles?
It is the round, flat, single cell battery that fits into the case to operate the remote control locking mechanism. Sometimes referred to as a CR2025 or CR2023 battery.
These round coin cell batteries are usually made of lithium, silver, oxide, or zinc-air. The lithium cell batteries
pose the greatest risk as they tend to be larger and therefore easier to get stuck in a child’s
throat. According to ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, “Tragically, three children have died and
one child a month is seriously injured from swallowing or ingesting button batteries.”
Effects of the Legislation on the Sale of Used Vehicles
A Wheels magazine source estimated that testing will cost approximately $2k for each type
of case. Auto makers will need to check every single set regardless of the age. Because of
this, it is estimated that vehicles older than 5 yrs might not be able to replace them if they break or get lost.
Wheels magazine also stated that second hand dealers are permitted to sell vehicles but
won’t be legally allowed to hand it to the owner until they are modified to pass the latest
When Does the Law Take Effect?
From Wednesday, June 22, 2022, the Australian Federal Government will bring in the final
legislative change (after 18 months leeway) to ensure all products using coin batteries,
including smart key fobs, can’t be opened by a child.
It includes alarms and all security and electronic locks (and remotes) that use button
batteries. Any product in Australia that uses these batteries must comply or face fines of up to
$10m for a business and $500k for individuals in breach.
Does it Affect All Vehicles?
Some are secure already as they come fitted with a small screw. However,
this is rare and there has been some debate among forums and car lovers of the various, and
often shady, methods to keep the old fob and button batteries.
JustCommodores forum states that the Forester has a battery compartment cover that must be unscrewed to
access the coin battery.
But, as is discussed in the forum, while it might appear to the average user that your key case is secure
(like the Holden VA ones that require a tool to be inserted to take them apart) – it must pass requirements.
How Do I Get My Key Replaced After June 2022?
It is now more important than ever to enlist an accredited and licensed vehicle security
service like an auto locksmith.
Fully licensed and insured car locksmiths have usually been a far more cost-effective solution for
replacing automotive key fob batteries than a car dealership. A licensed auto locksmith will know
where to get the most affordable and legal options.
Is a Battery the Only Item Affected?
Any product that requires a button battery will be affected by the ACCC regulation. This
means that your home TV and other remote controls (if they use the round button batteries) and
other items like watches, thermometers, scales and more. To find out what products have been
recalled, visit the Product Safety website.
Some licensed locksmiths can check your home and fire alarms as well as any electronic access remotes that use button batteries.
KSL can advise and replace approved button batteries for all your alarm and security remote controls. You can get a quote from your automotive dealership
as well as an approved locksmith to see the difference in cost to you.