washington d.c. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), lead Senate sponsors of Reese’s Law, bipartisan legislation to strengthen safety standards for products containing button batteries that frequently found in everyday articles, issued the following joint statement after the Senate passed the law.
The House of Representatives passed Reese’s Law earlier this week and it is now heading to President Joe Biden’s office for signing.
Named in honor of Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old child who died after ingesting a button cell battery from a remote control, the legislation would protect children from those small button cells and coin cell batteries found in common household items, including cameras, calculators, battery-powered candles, flashing clothes and even greeting cards. If swallowed, these batteries can pose a serious hazard to young children and infants and can cause serious injury, severe internal burns, or even death.
Blackburn and Blumenthal unveiled the legislation last year during a hearing with Reese Hamsmith’s mother, Trista Hamsmith, founder of Reese’s Purpose.
“I am grateful to the House and Senate for their diligent work in passing Reese’s Law. This legislation will undoubtedly save lives,” Hamsmith said. “I often talk about the plaque that was in Reese’s hospital room that said, ‘He has a plan and I have a purpose.’ Reese’s life was taken far too soon, but his legacy will live on through this law so that no other family will have to suffer like ours We are grateful for the passage of this legislation to help protect all children and families of the hidden dangers of button batteries.
Specifically, the legislation would direct the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to create safety standards to prevent accidental ingestion of button batteries by children, including:
- Create performance standards requiring that compartments of consumer products containing coin or button cell batteries be secured to prevent access by children six years of age or younger;
- Requiring that the packaging of coin or coin cell batteries be secured in a child-resistant manner;
- Require warning labels in product manuals, on packaging and directly on the product where possible, so that they are visible;
- Require warning labels that clearly identify the ingestion hazard; and
- Require warning labels instructing consumers to keep new and used batteries out of the reach of children and to seek immediate medical attention if a battery is swallowed.
Reese’s Law was also introduced by U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) in the House, and has been endorsed by a number of consumer advocates and protection. groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports, Kids In Danger (KID) and the Consumer Federation of America, as well as manufacturers including the Toy Association and Hallmark Cards, Inc.