Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
There's a CR2032 battery inside the Apple AirTag.

Energizer makes a safer button battery for kids

A new style of battery can tell you if your kids have accidentally ingested it simply by looking at the colour of their mouth.

When the Apple AirTags were released, Apple received criticism over its choice of batteries. While most Apple devices have a built-in rechargeable battery you can’t touch or replace, the AirTags rely on the common CR2032 button battery, a type that’s very small but comes with some risks.

Adults don’t have many risks with the button batteries, but kids definitely do. Small and fairly easy for kids to swallow, button batteries are dangerous for kids due to how quickly they can burn up their insides, potentially being fatal in the process.

Parents are already advised to keep batteries out of reach of children, but button batteries are even more risky due to their size.

Over time, battery makers have improved child protection features of batteries, including bitter surfaces to make them less palatable, as well as child-proof packaging that can get close to being adult-proof at times, as well.

However, Energizer’s latest addition may be the most helpful yet: a special surface that when exposed to saliva changes the colour of the mouth to let parents know something is wrong.

Called “Colour Alert”, it’s a small layer of blue dye dots that when hit with moisture like that of saliva, they will release their colour and change the look of whatever they’ve been in contact with. If you have wet hands, that’ll be your fingers, but since you shouldn’t handle batteries with wet hands, probably not that.

Rather, they’re mostly there to warn parents that their kids have swallowed a battery, with a blue mouth signalling to parents that something is wrong, and to get their kids to the hospital immediately.

Energizer’s Colour Alert batteries also come with the bitter coating and child-proof security packs, essentially providing three deterrents to swallowing batteries. The dye reaction occurs quickly, and is a non-toxic food grade dye, which should get the attention of a carer, particularly when someone tastes something bitter that makes their mouth blue.

It’s worth noting that Energizer’s child safe Colour Alert batteries may not be compatible with the aforementioned AirTag, something Apple warns of with other bitter-layer batteries.

However, if you don’t use an AirTag and still need some of these button batteries, and are worried about your kids swallowing one, this new generation could provide some peace of mind knowing it can offer a warning if the worst does happen.

Read next