School gaffe: button battery gadgets sold to kids
THREE years after four-year-old Summer Steer died from swallowing a button battery, items containing button batteries have been sold to students at Tewantin State School.
The Education Department has confirmed that a "cap light" sold at a P&C-run Father's Day stall contained a small button-style battery that could be unsafe if swallowed.
Summer Steer, a four-year-old Tewantin girl, died in 2013 after swallowing a button battery which lodged in her oesophagus and eroded through into her aorta, causing massive bleeding.
A parent, who declined to be identified because she has a child at the school, was furious that the button battery lights were sold to children.
She said although the items had been sold more than a month ago, a note about the issue was sent home to parents only this week.
"I'm lucky that my child is old enough that I can trust she's not going to swallow one of these things but a lot of the kids have small siblings at home," she said.
"It's all well and good saying it's human error but what would they be saying if they lost a child because of it?" she said.
The Education Department did not reply directly to a question from the Daily about how the cap lights found their way on to the Father's Day stall but a statement from deputy principal Corrie Connors described them as a "promotional gift".
"The school and P&C were unaware the promotional gift contained this type of battery. Twelve were sold at the event and no injuries resulting form their use have been reported to the school," the statement said.
Ms Connors' statement repeated the note to parents, saying the P&C "is managing the issue in consultation with the school and anyone with concerns can contact the P&C president or the principal."
The statement said the school had "acted immediately" but did not elaborate on how or if it had sought to have the items returned straight away.
"Tewantin State School acted immediately to ensure the safety of the school community information that a 'cap light' sold during the recent P&C Father's Day stall contained a small 'button style' battery that could be unsafe if swallowed," the statement said.
Despite the gaff, Ms Connors maintained the school was well aware of button battery safety.
"The school is vigilant about button battery safety and has a long-standing, positive relationship with Summer's family who were immediately notified along with all other parents and caregivers when the battery was discovered last week."
The upset parent said the items had been sold a month before a note went home to parents and "the matter should have been dealt with more swiftly.)