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MPs pledge to be ‘button battery aware’ at Westminster launch

10th June 2022

This week is Child Safety Week 2022 (6-12 June), an annual community awareness campaign led by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented.

As part of our activities to reduce the harms caused by accidents in childhood, the iHV was delighted to support the launch of The Harper-Lee Foundation button battery awareness Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday 7 June. Alongside numerous other organisations, we signed the ‘button battery pledge’ which pledges to raise awareness of the risks associated with button and coin cell ingestion in local communities. Please join with us and sign the pledge, either as an individual or an organisation.

At the Parliamentary Reception, from the left: Georgina Mayes, Policy and Quality Lead at iHV; Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive at CAPT; Ian Evans, Training and Consultancy Manager at CAPT; and Pam Prentice, Campaigns Manager at CAPT

The Harper-Lee Foundation was established last year following the tragic death of Harper-Lee Fanthorpe who sadly passed away after ingesting a coin-cell battery. The charity is working alongside Government, charities, and industry to reduce the risk to children of accidents and death from foreign body ingestion.

The Parliamentary Reception was hosted by Jo Gideon MP and sponsored by the British and Irish Portable Battery Association (BIPBA). At the event, The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) launched a joint awareness and information campaign on button cell safety, designed to provide expert information and guidance to parents and professionals working with babies, children, and families on how to handle button batteries safely. Representatives from CAPT were on hand to discuss the initiative with parliamentarians and also share their fabulous free educational resources.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of CAPT, said:

“Button batteries cause corrosive burns inside the body if they’re swallowed and get stuck. Young children have died or been left with life-changing injuries. But too few parents know about the risks or how to keep their children safe. As trusted professionals supporting families UK-wide, health visitors have a vital role to play in raising awareness.”

It is important that we all work together to raise awareness of the preventable harms that button batteries pose to children and ensure that all parents and carers are aware of the important safety messages. Button batteries are powering a growing number of household products and have been linked to serious injuries among small children. Lithium cell batteries are a particular concern as they are larger and have a higher voltage.

Here is a video from the CAPT charity about the dangers of button batteries that you can share with parents (warning – it is not an easy watch…):

The new initiative will help parents, carers and professionals understand the risks and keep children safe. There is a raft of resources available for health visitors to access, please visit: https://www.capt.org.uk/button-battery-safety for further information. Thanks to generous support from the Office for Product Safety and Standards, CAPT resources are all free to order from their online shop and they have a special fund that enables them to refund the costs of postage and packaging!

Georgina Mayes, iHV Policy and Quality Lead, said:

“I was delighted to attend this event in Parliament to raise the profile of the work of the Harper-Lee Foundation, so that communities across the United Kingdom will become more aware of the dangers of button battery ingestion. Health visitors have a vital role to play in raising awareness of the dangers that button batteries pose to babies and children. Health visitors reach every baby that is born in the UK through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme and, through using their specialist public health nursing skills, they can prevent serious and catastrophic harm to babies and children.”

National Button Battery Awareness Day, 12 June 2022

The Westminster launch of The Harper-Lee Foundation coincided with Child Safety Week (6-12 June) and, this Sunday 12 June, marks National Button Battery Awareness Day. It would be brilliant if you could share the CAPT video and post on social media, using the hashtags #ButtonBatteryAwareness, #IamButtonBatteryAware, and #NeverAgain.