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Apple AirTag taken off shelves by retailer in Australia due to a safety concern

Australian retailer Officeworks recently took Apple AirTag off its offline and online channels citing an easy removal of its button-cell batteries as a concern for child safety to its customers.

twitter-logoSarthak Dogra | May 5, 2021 | Updated 19:09 IST

Highlights

  • Apple AirTag is said to have an easy removal process for its button-cell batteries.
  • Australia has faced the issue of such batteries being swallowed by children resulting in injuries and death.
  • An Apple retailer in Australia says that it will not restock Apple AirTag until further notice due to this issue.

Apple launched its much-awaited AirTags alongside a fresh model of iPad Pro last month. While the new product promises many use cases and is much sought in Apple's international markets, it was recently taken off the shelves of an Apple retailer in Australia due to safety concerns.

The issue reportedly lies with the button-cell batteries that power the AirTags. From what a Reddit user highlighted recently earlier, the batteries of AirTags are too easy to remove, even by a child.

Citing this reason, the Apple AirTags have been removed from the shelves by Officeworks in Australia until further notice. Even though they were in stock earlier this week, the retailer has now announced that the AirTag range will "temporarily be unavailable for purchase" through its online and offline channels.

The retailer now seeks guidance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the issue. Though it did not officially confirm the issue with AirTags, it went on to state that the product will not be restocked until the direction by ACCC.

ACCC, however, confirmed the issue in a statement to Gizmodo. It said that it is aware of concerns raised around the accessibility of button batteries in AirTag and so Officeworks followed on the general mandate by ACCC. As per the mandate, if a supplier finds that a product they supply is unsafe, the supplier is expected to conduct a "voluntary recall to advise consumers of the risk, address the safety issue, or remove the product from the market," an ACCC spokesperson said.

The suppliers are also supposed to make a mandatory injury report through the Product Safety Australia website in case of a serious injury, illness or death caused by a product they supply. Though no injury caused by an AirTag has been reported as of now.

In response, Apple highlighted that the AirTags meet is international child safety standards, including those in Australia. In an email to Gizmodo Australia, it said that the product requires a "two-step push-and-turn mechanism" to access the replaceable battery.

The issue of button batteries has been reported to be a nuisance in Australia, as an estimated 20 children a week from across the country are taken to emergency departments for swallowing button batteries.

ACCC has not passed on a directive as of now, as AirTags are still available on several online and offline channels in the country. Apple, however, is possibly planning to update the product packaging with warnings to comply with the norms.

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