The good, the bad and the button battery

Did anyone catch the top news story recently about a man who led police on a three-hour semitrailer chase?

Sounds a little exciting, right? A bit OJ Simpson.

Scratch below the surface and it was anything but.

The man surrendered peacefully (ho hum). But the best part - the chase occurred in California!

And this is the top story for some of our well-known Australian media. Such a good example of a bad news story.

Isn’t anything occurring here on home soil that would be of importance to us? Something more than the overabundance of cars crashing into houses that the media seems to be obsessed with of late?

Each day I receive Google alerts in my Inbox highlighting stories in the media that might be of interest based on certain key words I have identified as important.

For me and Juno ChildSafe, those words and sentences include “kids/children”, “accidental”, “poisoning”, “medication”, “hand sanitizer”.

But I remain surprised and disappointed that accidental medication poisoning in young children rarely gets a mention.

Every two hours in Australia a child aged under five years is treated in an emergency department for accidental medication poisoning. Where are the stories about that? Where are the medical experts being interviewed? Don’t we, as parents, have a right to know?

But there has been a little ray of sunshine recently, with some of the other words on my watch list making a starring appearance.

You probably know them – “lithium”, “button”, “batteries”.

Every week, about 20 children in Australia attend a hospital emergency department with a button battery exposure. To date, we have had two deaths.

You may have seen the startling footage of a button battery eating away at a pork sausage. It’s done the rounds of the news sites and social media, including our own Facebook page –

Thankfully, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, along with other organisations, have been doing their bit to put this story on the news agenda.

And then today, my little Google alert sent me this – Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, Energiser Australia, Officeworks and other major retailers have adopted a voluntary industry code designed to reduce the number of Australian kids killed and injured when they swallow button batteries - see here for details.. 

Finally, some good news!