Product safety

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) administer and regulate product safety in the Northern Territory. Visit their website here. If you have any queries regarding product safety you should direct your enquiries to the ACCC through their contact us section of the Product Safety Australia website.

Below are a set of safety information about nationally recognised safety issues that effect Territorians.

Quad Bikes

Quad bikes (also known as an all-terrain vehicle or ATVs) have a number of features that create risks for users, particularly when used on uneven or sloped ground. Losing control of a quad bike can cause it to flip or roll over causing death or serious injury. There have been at least 128 fatalities associated with quad bike use during 2011–18.

Risks and injuries

Around 15 per cent of deaths involve children using quad bikes. More than half of all quad bike deaths are because of rollovers. The main causes of death by rollovers are asphyxiation, crush and head injuries. Quad bikes are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury on Australian farms.

Children are at greater risk of serious injury and death while operating quads. Adult sized quad bikes should never be operated by children. Even the smaller quads, specifically designed for younger riders, have been involved in fatal incidents in Australia.

Safe use

Always read and understand the safety instructions for the quad bike you use or purchase. Always wear the full safety clothing and equipment including an appropriate and properly fitting helmet.

Remember that quad bikes are not for all terrains or for all jobs. Quad bikes can be unstable on anything but flat terrain.

Check out the Safe Work Australia website for more information about the safe use of quad bikes.

Button Batteries

Each week almost 20 Australian children attend hospital emergency departments due to exposure to button batteries. It is important to keep button batteries out of reach and sight of small children. Button batteries are found in a wide range of household products including bathroom scales, car keys, TV remote controls, calculators and even greeting cards.

Button/coin battery mandatory standards

In December 2020 the Commonwealth Government introduced new safety and information standards to improve the safety of button batteries.

The new standards require that products that contain button batteries must have secure battery compartments to prevent children from gaining access to the batteries. Manufacturers must also undertake compliance testing to demonstrate batteries are secure, supply higher risk batteries in child-resistant packaging, and place additional warnings and emergency advice on packaging and instructions.

The new standards include an 18-month transition period to allow suppliers time to implement any manufacturing and design changes to products and packaging to comply with the new requirements. The standards become mandatory in June 2022.

For more information, refer to the button batteries page on the Product Safety Australia website.

Risks and injuries

If swallowed, these coin-sized lithium button batteries can lodge somewhere within a child’s system. The child’s saliva immediately triggers an electrical current, which causes a chemical reaction. This reaction can cause severe burns to the child’s oesophagus and internal organs, including the lungs, heart, arteries and spine. This reaction can take only a few hours, resulting in serious injury or death. These injuries can occur even if the battery has been discarded and was completely flat.

One of the major issues with button batteries is that you may not be aware that your child has swallowed a button battery. Symptoms include the following:

  • gagging or choking
  • drooling
  • chest pain
  • coughing or noisy breathing
  • unexplained vomiting or food refusal
  • black or red bowel motions or vomit
  • nose bleeds
  • unexplained fever

Purchasing Button Batteries

  • Keep products with button batteries out of sight and out of reach of small children.
  • Examine devices and secure them so that children cannot gain access to the batteries inside.
  • Dispose of used button batteries immediately. Batteries contain valuable and toxic materials, so it is important we recycle them. Search the internet for a recycling centre near you. Please note: Flat batteries can still be dangerous.
  • If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery do not let the child eat or drink and do not induce vomiting. Immediately call the Poisons Information Hotline on 13 11 26 for additional treatment information. You will be directed to an appropriate emergency service that can manage the injury.
  • Spread the word about the risk associated with button batteries and how to keep their children safe, especially to new parents.

Toppling Furniture

Due to the rising number of incidents, the ACCC and consumer protection agencies around Australia encourage all traders to consider their products and the risk of topping furniture to young children.

Toppling furniture - understanding the risks

Young children have a natural tendency to climb on furniture such as freestanding bookcases, drawers, wardrobes, televisions and sideboards. A child’s weight can easily cause unsecured furniture to topple, especially if the furniture is not anchored and top heavy.

At least 14 children under 9 years old have died in Australia during 2010-2015 due to toppling furniture. Many more have been injured. These injuries and deaths are largely preventable.

Retailers have a responsibility to help keep customers safe

Major retailers of furniture in Australia and overseas have already adopted simple and affordable solutions to prevent toppling furniture incidents. These measures include providing customers with furniture anchors and advising them about making safe choices when buying potentially unsafe furniture.

The ACCC and its associated state and territory consumer safety regulators remind all traders to provide customers with the means to reduce the risk of serious injuries caused by toppling furniture. Adopting safety initiatives voluntarily may also reduce the need for further consideration of government regulation in this area.

Businesses can help to prevent toppling furniture related injuries and reduce the likelihood of causing reputational damage by taking these steps:

  • Provide furniture anchors to give consumers the opportunity to prevent furniture tip-over incidents from occurring
  • Display and provide consumer safety information at the point of sale – you can print and use the about how to prevent injuries: Furniture Stability Factsheet is available on this page.
  • Provide safety information on the company website – use the link to the online safety alert.
  • Print clear warnings in furniture assembly instructions and use in-store signage on or near relevant displays. Consider including information in your promotional material to help parents and carers identify and avoid toppling furniture risks.
  • Train staff about furniture safety so they can assist customers with making safe choices.

Takata Airbags

Millions of vehicles with Takata Airbags are under compulsory or voluntary recalls with 29 reported deaths worldwide and over 320 injuries. Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to explode when deployed, which makes these recalls particularly important for Territorians, considering out climate. Such explosions have caused injuries and deaths.

You can check if your vehicle is on the airbag recall list by checking your number plate on the IsMyAirbagSafe website.

For more information about the Takata air bag recall check out Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Product Safety Australia website.


Last Updated:
04 May 2021

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