Consumer Resources

Battery Safety

We know we need batteries for all kinds of technology in our homes, so why do we often overlook battery safety? There are a few important things you need to know about the different types of batteries we use, and the steps you can take to make sure you and your family are using them safely.

Common Types of Batteries:

Lithium Ion Cylindrical Cells


Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Cylindrical Cells have the highest energy density of all rechargeable batteries, and are widely used in laptop batteries, digital cameras, video cameras, e-cigarettes and other portable electronic devices. Misusing Li-Ion cylindrical battery cells is dangerous and may cause serious personal injury or property damage.

Read more from the U.S. Fire Administration (PDF) about the dangers involved with improper battery cell use, storage and charging of the battery cell in e-cigarettes.

 

Button Cell Batteries


Button Cell Batteries are small and shaped like squat cylinders, similar to buttons on a shirt. Button cells are used to power small portable electronics devices such as wrist watches, calculators, remote controls, hearing aids and children’s toys. 

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ has worked with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) on standards to minimize the risk of accidental ingestion of button batteries by consumers, especially children.

Battery Safety Tips

  • Keep all button batteries out of the sight and reach of children.

  • Follow warnings and manufacturers’ instructions for batteries and battery-operated products; use only the correct type and size of battery indicated.

  • Modifying non-replaceable batteries or using batteries not specified for your model could result in an explosion.

  • Non-rechargeable batteries should not be charged.

  • When changing batteries, check the contacts of both the battery and the battery-operated product for cleanliness; make sure you insert the batteries correctly.

  • When batteries are exhausted, remove and safely dispose of them according to local regulations.

  • Replace all batteries in battery-operated products at the same time, and use only batteries of the same type and manufacture.

  • It is important that you do not damage batteries by heating, attempt to crush, puncture or dismantle them.

  • Batteries should not be kept in pockets or purses where they may come into contact with keys, coins or other metal objects.

 

Tips on Purchasing Batteries

Before you buy any battery cells online or in stores, please check with the advertised manufacturer’s support website if the batteries are:

  • Sold without any logos or branding

  • Sold with solid-color wrapping and include only serial numbers

  • Sold loose or without packaging

  • Marketed as “OEM” 

Guidance on Battery Ingestion 

  • If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately.

  • Don’t induce vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until he or she is assessed by a medical professional.

  • The symptoms (such as coughing, drooling and discomfort) may be tricky to recognize; if you have even the smallest concern, don’t take chances and go to the emergency room right away.

  • The National Capital Poison Center in Washington, D.C., also maintains information about and safety tips for button batteries.