AirTag battery is a choking hazard, Australian regulator warns parents

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is now urging parents to keep AirTags out of the reach of young children for safety reasons.

In May 2021, Australian retailer Officeworks withdrew Apple's AirTags from sale over battery concerns. An Officeworks spokesperson said the company would wait "until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission." The ACCC has now issued a statement advising parents to keep AirTags out of the reach of small children because of their small batteries.

"As a safety precaution, we urge parents to keep AirTags away from their children," said Delia Rickard, ACCC Deputy Chair, in a statement. "We know that small children can be fascinated by keys and love playing with them, so there is a risk that they could access this product, which is designed to be attached to a key ring, among other things."

The issue is specifically to do with the small batteries contained within AirTags, and how easily accessible they are. According to the ACCC, more than one child per month is seriously injured by eating the batteries, or putting them in their ears.

As well as it being simple to access the battery in an AirTag, the ACCC claims that the battery compartment does not always fully secure when closed. The regulator says that a distinctive note plays when the AirTag's lid is closed, but this does not indicate that the covering is secure.

"We were also concerned that the outer product packaging does not have any warning about the presence and dangers of button batteries, and we note that Apple has now added a warning label to the AirTag's packaging," continued Rickard, "However, this alone does not address our fundamental concerns about children being able to access the button batteries in these devices."

The ACCC has previously run a video campaign warning against so-called button batteries, and is now re-running the campaign.

"We are continuing to investigate to determine what actions may be required to address our safety concerns," continued Rickard. "We are also liaising with our international counterparts on the safety of Apple AirTags, and at least one overseas public safety regulator is also examining the safety of this product at this stage."

Apple has not commented on the new warning, however the ACCC notes that it has previously stated AirTags are designed to meet international child safety standards.

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