A chain of office supply stores in Australia suspended sales of Apple’s AirTag over child-safety concerns.
Officeworks, which sells approximately 30,000 products in its 167 giant stores, confirmed that the “Apple AirTag range will temporarily be unavailable” for purchase. This is reportedly due to how easily the replaceable cell batteries can be removed from the location-tracking tags. And, presumably, swallowed.
One would-be customer reported their experience online. They said they went into one of the stores to ask about AirTags. However, they were told they were temporarily unavailable. “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,” they wrote.
Officeworks told News.com.au “the product will not be stocked by Officeworks until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Officeworks continues to work with Apple to address any safety concerns.”
Apple hits back at the complaint
Apple, however, said AirTag complies with safety standards.
“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,” an Australian representative for the company said in a statement. “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.”
Australia did not place a blanket ban the AirTags. But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said retailers should suspend and report products they consider dangerous when it comes to button cell batteries.
“The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” reads an ACCC statement. “If a supplier finds 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.”