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‘They could cause death or serious injury’: Safety concerns over wristbands handed out at AFL grand final

Jesani Catchpole with her three children in Brisbane.

Wristbands containing button batteries handed out at the AFL grand final on Saturday night in Brisbane have raised serious concerns for child safety, Kidsafe Queensland says.

Jesani Catchpoole found the wristband device on her kitchen bench at home in the morning, which her husband brought home from the game.

“I’m a mum with three boys and I also work at the Queensland Injuries Surveillance Unit where we normally look at emergency department data and pick up a few issues around injuries, especially for the kids,” she said.

“The button battery is one of the things we looked at and we know how dangerous it is.

“It scares me that it was so easy to remove the button batteries, but I was kind of grateful that I was the first one who saw it — not the kids — because I knew it would take them a few seconds.”

She said the idea that thousands of people could have taken them home scared her too.

Jesani Catchpole with her three children in Brisbane.
Jesani Catchpole knows how dangerous button batteries can be.(ABC News: Lily Nothling)

“When I asked my husband, how many people had this? Are you the only one who had it? — and he said everybody had it,” she said.

Last week the Conway family, from the Gold Coast, publicly told of their heartbreak after their three-year-old daughter Brittney died after swallowing a button battery.

Brittney was the third Australian child to die after swallowing a button battery since 2013.

The family said they hope for urgent government changes to regulate the use of the batteries.

Hand holds a wristband with button batteries given out at AFL Grand Final in BrisbaneHand holds a wristband with button batteries given out at AFL Grand Final in Brisbane
Mum Jesani Catchpoole says the button batteries were easy to remove from the wristband.(Supplied)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is working on a recommendation for mandatory regulation of button batteries.

Twenty children are taken to hospital every week suspected of swallowing a button battery and three children have died since 2013.

Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds said the devices at the AFL were a prime example of why legislation was needed.

“”We’ve been looking at this for seven years … we’ve done a lot of campaigns,” he said.

“I still can’t believe that marketing people think that these useless little flashing devices are appropriate to put out into the public space where they could cause the death or serious injury of a child,” she said.

Ms Teerds had a warning for anyone who attended the game.

Wristband with button batteries removed given out at AFL Grand Final in Brisbane on October 24, 2020.Wristband with button batteries removed given out at AFL Grand Final in Brisbane on October 24, 2020.
Each week, twenty children are taken to hospital suspected of swallowing a button battery.(Supplied)

“Find the wristband, do not take the batteries out, and put it in the bin,” she said.

Ms Catchpole also urged people to be careful.

“I know that the AFL grand final is probably once in a lifetime experience for many people, including my husband,” she said.

“Keep it out of reach from kids, please.”

The AFL has been contacted for comment.

Source: AFL NEWS ABC