Australian retailer pauses sales of Apple's AirTags over safety concerns

midian182

Posts: 6,667   +59
Staff member
What just happened? Officeworks, a major chain of office supply stores in Australia, has paused sales of Apple’s AirTags for an undisclosed reason. It’s believed that the temporary removal is due to safety concerns over the ease at which the button-cell battery can be removed.

Gizmodo has highlighted a post on Reddit’s r/Australia that claims a user tried to buy an AirTag from Officeworks with a voucher. While staff members could see the trackers in stock on the system and remembered selling them previously, they couldn’t find any devices.

“Eventually someone came downstairs from the office and explained that the AirTags have been recalled due to safety concerns of how easily the button-cell battery can be removed by a child. AirTags have also been removed from the Officeworks website,” wrote shwaaboy.

The Reddit post has been labeled as Unverified by moderators, but Officeworks has confirmed that the AirTags will be unavailable for purchase until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC confirmed concerns over the AirTags’ batteries to Gizmodo. “The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” a spokesperson wrote in an email.

“If a supplier finds that a product they supply is unsafe, the ACCC expects the supplier to conduct a voluntary recall to advise consumers of the risk, address the safety issue, or remove the product from the market,” the spokesperson added.

Three children have died after swallowing button-cell batteries in Australia since 2013, and around 20 children are taken to emergency departments each week for the same reason. Gizmodo notes that the country has introduced a new standard that requires warning symbols on product packaging and certain information in product instructions for button-cell battery products. Apple is planning to update its AirTags packaging and warnings to comply with the new standards.

Ironically, a recent iFixit teardown found that the AirTags’ battery was more difficult to remove than those in the rival Tile Mate and Samsung Galaxy SmartTag.

“AirTag is designed to meet international child safety standards, including those in Australia, by requiring a two step push-and-turn mechanism to access the user-replaceable battery,” said an Apple rep. “We are following the regulations closely and are working to ensure that our products will meet or exceed new standards, including those for package labelling, well ahead of the timeline required.”

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Hexic

Posts: 935   +1,292
TechSpot Elite
Australia: "We'll legislate that swallowing things is bad. You're welcome parents."

I wonder when Legos, cleaning pods, screws, nails, makeup, and every other object the size of a tube of chapstick or smaller will need legislation so Australian government can officially classify it as a risk for those unassuming, and surely unknowing parents.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,285   +2,490
TechSpot Elite
The irony. For years, people have complained about not being able to remove the battery on an iPhone. Now they've made a device that you can remove the battery and now people are complaining that it can be removed. I find this funny.
I was about to say something along these lines lol

I'll chock it up to Apple being out of the "fix it yourself" market long enough that they forgot to also make it child proof :p
 

Austinturner

Posts: 134   +133
Australia: "We'll legislate that swallowing things is bad. You're welcome parents."

I wonder when Legos, cleaning pods, screws, nails, makeup, and every other object the size of a tube of chapstick or smaller will need legislation so Australian government can officially classify it as a risk for those unassuming, and surely unknowing parents.
We aren’t talking about a chocking hazard. Button batteries create a current in the fluid around them and that produces sodium hydroxide which starts eating holes in the kid from the inside.

Are you actually suggesting we shouldn’t have a standard that requires a childproof mechanism that makes it safer for toddlers to be around button batteries? That manufacturers should just be allowed to sell whatever they want?
 

Hexic

Posts: 935   +1,292
TechSpot Elite
We aren’t talking about a chocking hazard. Button batteries create a current in the fluid around them and that produces sodium hydroxide which starts eating holes in the kid from the inside.

Are you actually suggesting we shouldn’t have a standard that requires a childproof mechanism that makes it safer for toddlers to be around button batteries? That manufacturers should just be allowed to sell whatever they want?

"The ACCC confirmed concerns over the AirTags’ batteries to Gizmodo. “The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” a spokesperson wrote in an email."

"Three children have died after swallowing button-cell batteries in Australia since 2013, and around 20 children are taken to emergency departments each week for the same reason. Gizmodo notes that the country has introduced a new standard that requires warning symbols on product packaging and certain information in product instructions for button-cell battery products."

I'd say that the context is definitely that of swallowing the hardware here (choking specifically wasn't mentioned). What happens when you swallow a battery is self evident, and perhaps what you are stating could happen in the stomach.

I'm not suggesting the straw-man approach of "we don't need regulators" - simply that you can try and legislate common sense all you want, but it does no good. The Australian government hasn't caught onto this concept for many years.

Nothing against the locals, shame about parts of the gov. though.
 

tehxion

Posts: 21   +15
We aren’t talking about a chocking hazard. Button batteries create a current in the fluid around them and that produces sodium hydroxide which starts eating holes in the kid from the inside.

Are you actually suggesting we shouldn’t have a standard that requires a childproof mechanism that makes it safer for toddlers to be around button batteries? That manufacturers should just be allowed to sell whatever they want?
^^ This. If a child does not die from ingesting button batteries, the injuries are often life altering. The batteries very quickly burn holes where ever they get stuck. Often in the windpipe resulting a Tracheostomy and other severe injury. Pets are also at risk. The standards in Australia have existed for some time now, have you noticed that devices using these batteries often have a child proof clip or a screw to remove before the battery can be accessed.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 134   +133
"The ACCC confirmed concerns over the AirTags’ batteries to Gizmodo. “The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” a spokesperson wrote in an email."

"Three children have died after swallowing button-cell batteries in Australia since 2013, and around 20 children are taken to emergency departments each week for the same reason. Gizmodo notes that the country has introduced a new standard that requires warning symbols on product packaging and certain information in product instructions for button-cell battery products."

I'd say that the context is definitely that of swallowing the hardware here (choking specifically wasn't mentioned). What happens when you swallow a battery is self evident, and perhaps what you are stating could happen in the stomach.

I'm not suggesting the straw-man approach of "we don't need regulators" - simply that you can try and legislate common sense all you want, but it does no good. The Australian government hasn't caught onto this concept for many years.

Nothing against the locals, shame about parts of the gov. though.
So what were you arguing is excessive? Which of the four parts of this legislation is unnecessary government action and should be replaced with common sense parenting? For reference the legislation specifically requires:
  • - secure battery compartments to stop children from accessing the batteries
  • - compliance testing to demonstrate the batteries are secure
  • - warnings and emergency advice on packaging
  • - child-resistant packaging for higher risk batteries