More retailers in Australia are reportedly removing Apple’s location-tracking AirTags from their shelves. This relates to concerns that the trackers’ tiny button batteries could be swallowed by small children.
Earlier this week, office supplier retail giant Officeworks suspended sales of the AirTag. Now other Australian retailers — including JB Hi-Fi and Big W — have seemingly followed suit.
JB Hi-Fi has 303 stores. In 2018, it was ranked as the joint-seventh biggest electronics and home appliance retailer on the planet. Meanwhile, Big W is a chain of discount department stores with around 183 outlets. Both chains currently list the AirTags as being out of stock.
Gizmodo Australia notes that it is their:
“understanding that staff at JB Hi-Fi stores have been told to pull the AirTags from sale effective immediately. However, the reason has not been specified. A manager at one store told Gizmodo Australia that they have not been instructed exactly as to why, but that it was due to a safety reason and that JB Hi-Fi is currently working it out with Apple.”
Meanwhile, a Big W representative told the publication that orders of the AirTags have been put on pause pending an investigation into their safety.
Apple could redesign packaging in Australia
Button batteries are a source of great debate in Australia. This is due to multiple high-profile deaths of small children due to ingesting these miniature batteries. A story for Australia’s ABC news outlet describes them as “Landmines in the lounge room.”
Twenty Australian children are taken to the emergency room each week due to swallowing button batteries.
Apple has said its AirTags conform to necessary safety standards. In a statement, it said that:
“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. 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.”
Despite this, Apple is reportedly planning to “update the AirTag’s packaging and warnings in Australia” to comply with rules coming into force in 2022.