Summer Steer, 4, from Tewantin, who died after swallowing a lithium battery
Summer Steer, 4, from Tewantin, who died after swallowing a lithium battery

Mum’s pain: ‘No one listening’ over child hazard

SHE was a mischievous little four-year-old with the face of a cherub when she suffered a catastrophic death.

Little Queenslander Summer Steer lost her life before it had truly began after swallowing a button battery in June 2013.

 

Summer Steer, 4, died after swallowing a button battery.
Summer Steer, 4, died after swallowing a button battery.

 

Andrea Shoesmith at the inquiry into her daughter Summer’s death
Andrea Shoesmith at the inquiry into her daughter Summer’s death

 

Summer's mother Andrea Shoesmith has joined the Choice campaign determined to make lawmakers listen.

She is frustrated knowing that the coroner, following her daughter's death, recommended changes to the way batteries are designed and packaged.

Like many parents, Ms Shoesmith didn't know at the time just how dangerous button batteries could be.

"There is not a day goes past that I don't think about Summer," she told The Sunday Mail.

"I work at Tewantin State School and watch the other little girls growing up.

"Summer didn't get the chance to grow up.

"The school has banned products with button batteries since Summer's death, but there is a whole big country out there with kids who are at risk.

"I went into a shop recently and there were two batteries just lying on the floor. That tears my heart out.''

Ms Shoesmith is also mother to 12-year-old Finn.

"Time doesn't make a difference when you lose a child," she said.

"It's as raw now as it was when she died.

"I hope this campaign to make safety procedures compulsory is successful. Six years is too long.

"It's too late for Summer but we can help save other kids.

"We need the politicians to listen."

 

Safety protocols are yet to be put in place, six years after Summer‘s death.
Safety protocols are yet to be put in place, six years after Summer‘s death.


An investigation into button batteries by consumer watchdog Choice showed that in items bought in many large retail stores in Australia, the batteries were easily accessed in 10 out of 17 products. The items included thermometers, lights, and scales.

Choice head of campaigns Sarah Agar told The Sunday Mail: "Incredibly, it is still not illegal to sell these unsafe products in Australia.

"Summer's tragic death was almost six years ago, and we are yet to see any solid moves from any political leaders to fix the problem of these potentially deadly batteries.

"Can you believe that is it not illegal in Australia to sell unsafe products?

"The guidelines are voluntary. Choice has been campaigning on this issue for a decade.

"No one is listening."



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