The ACCC this week advised parents to keep Apple’s AirTags out of the reach of young children after retailer Officeworks raised concerns about the ease in which the button battery can be accessed.
The AirTag is a small device that can help locate and track your belongings on Apple’s FindMy network
Back in May, shortly after Apple launched the AirTags, Officeworks removed them from shelves over safety concerns.
Apple responded with a statement at the time which read: “AirTag is designed to meet international child safety standards, including those in Australia, by requiring a two-step push and turn mechanism to access the user-replaceable battery.
“We are following the regulations closely and are working to ensure that our products will meet or exceed new standards, including those for package labelling well ahead of the timeline required.”
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Officeworks referred the matter to the ACCC which this week responded with a statement about the battery compartment and product packaging.
“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,” says ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
“However, this alone does not address our fundamental concerns about children being able to access the button batteries in these devices.”
Apple will this week issue new AirTag packaging including an exterior sticker and in-box instructions that will provide additional advice to customers that AirTag uses a replaceable coin-cell battery and share the associated warnings and recommended best practices for safe-battery management.
Since launch, AirTag has included warnings and warning symbols in the product instruction manuals. The new packaging enhancement follows on from Apple’s earlier public commitment to meet Australia’s new Information Standard well ahead of the June 2022 compliance deadline.
The ACCC says it will continue to investigate what actions may be required to address safety concerns.
It will also liaise with its international counterparts about the safety of the AirTags. The ACCC says one other foreign public safety regulator is also examining the safety of the product.
“As a safety precaution, we urge parents to keep AirTags away from their children,” Ms Rickard said.
“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.
“We are aware several large retailers, including Officeworks, are currently not offering the AirTag for sale because of concerns about button battery safety.”
Button batteries are dangerous for kids and if swallowed are not only a choking hazard but can also cause a chemical reaction and burn through tissue.
The ACCC says it is also looking at similar Bluetooth products to assess if there are issues with battery button safety.