Summer Steer, who died after ingesting a button battery.
Summer Steer, who died after ingesting a button battery.

Four children a week present with battery exposure: inquest

FOUR children a week are presenting with battery exposure in Queensland, the coronial inquest into the death of Tewantin's Summer Steer (pictured) has heard.

Queensland Injury Prevention Council director Dr Ruth Barker told coroner John Hutton the number of cases involving the tiny batteries found in many appliances was escalating.

"It was suggested in an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report to the coroner five children a week presented in Australia," Dr Barker said.

"Based on our data, it is probably four children a week in Queensland presenting with battery exposure.

"Some of this may be due to heightened awareness around button batteries."


The inquest, being held at the Maroochydore Courthouse, is looking at reasons behind four-year-old Summer's tragic death from a button battery on June 30, 2013 and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

Dr Barker was questioned extensively on whether Summer's general practitioner, Dr Andrew Spall, had done enough when he saw Summer two weeks before her death.

Dr Barker said he could have done more. She said it was possible Summer had swallowed the battery before she fronted the doctor's surgery.

Summer's mother and four doctors gave testimony.