Battery Safety: Basic Tips

Battery Safety Basics

03 June 2020

Social media tosses us all manner of ‘real life’ images of people and animals doing unbelievable things. One such image recently was a dog that swallowed a flashlight. The dog looked perfectly happy while its chest was glowing; the torch supposedly still switched on. We’re not going to argue the validity of the image, but it did bring up some questions about battery safety.

Batteries are such a normal part of our lives that we barely think of safety. When handling an automotive battery, we might think of safe lifting techniques due to the weight of the battery, but most of us don’t think about safety of phone and other small batteries.

Here’s a list safety tips when it comes to batteries in your home:

  • Keep all button batteries out of sight of children and pets. They can look like lollies or treats, and even if that mistake is not made, toddlers and pets learn about their environment using a variety of senses, including taste. Hospital emergency workers commonly deal with little ones who’ve put button batteries where they are not designed to go – into mouths and up noses.

  • Manufacturers provide instructions for their products for good reasons: to ensure their products are used in the way they were designed and to keep the consumer safe. Using the correct size and type of battery is an important safety measure.

  • When non-rechargeable batteries are flat, remove them and take them to a recycling location. Battery World stores provide this service.

  • When replacing flat batteries, ensure all batteries in the product are replaced, using batteries of the same type.

  • When replacing batteries, check the contacts of the product and the replacement batteries: are they clean? Make sure the batteries are inserted correctly.

  • Batteries are designed to be used as they were manufactured. If the battery doesn’t fit a product or purpose, get batteries that are designed for the purpose you need. Attempting to modify batteries in any way can be a recipe for disaster. Similarly, batteries that are allowed to heat, or that are pierced, crushed, or dismantled can be extremely dangerous.

  • If you want to recharge your batteries, make sure they’re designed for that purpose. While it sounds obvious it’s still worth saying; you should not try to recharge non-rechargeable batteries.

  • Store batteries safely. Tucking them into your pocket, while sometimes convenient, can bring them into contact with metal items such as keys or coins. This creates an electric current, which can heat up your clothing and create a fire.

Some of these tips are common sense, but as the saying goes, “Common sense is not so common”. Other tips may make you pause and think “I didn’t know that.” Knowledge is (battery) power, and it’s definitely worth having knowledge to keep you and your family safe.