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Bipartisan Bill Reese’s Law Passes the House

The consumer protection bill would create safety standards that prevent accidental ingestion of button batteries by children ages six and younger.

Reese Hamsmith, Reese's Law
Reese Hamsmith. (Source: Reese’s Purpose)

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Reese’s Lawbipartisan legislation co-led by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Jodey Arrington (R-TX) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) to protect children from ingesting button cell batteries passed the House. Reese’s Law is named for Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old child who tragically passed away after ingesting a button cell battery.

“Today we take one step closer to protecting children from the terrible health risks of button and coin cell battery ingestion,” said Rep. Robin Kelly. “Reese’s story is powerful. There are so many products in our homes that contain these batteries and could pose a danger to children. I’m a mother and a grandmother, so I know how quickly children can get ahold of small items like button batteries. Making simple changes in safety standards for products with these batteries could save a child’s life. I am so grateful to Trista for sharing her story and working to protect other children. I will keep working to make sure this legislation is brought to a vote in the Senate.” 

“I am honored to partner with Trista Hamsmith — a West Texas mom on a mission — along with my colleagues, Robin Kelly and Ted Lieu, to introduce Reese’s Law, a bipartisan bill that will enhance safety measures for button batteries, which pose unique and significantly rising risks to young children. Passage of this legislation will save families from enduring the tragedy that the Hamsmith family experienced, and I am humbled to play a small role in Reese’s Purpose,” said Rep. Jodey Arrington.

“I’m pleased that the house passed Reese’s Law authored by Rep. Kelly,” Rep. Ted Lieu said. “I became involved in this issue after one of my constituents shared her own story about the terrifying experience her family suffered due to one of these small, unsecured button batteries. Her daughter was playing with a common children’s toy when a button battery fell out and her 16-month-old daughter swallowed it. This wonderful family endured every parent’s worst nightmare, with their baby in the ICU for a week and hospitalized for a month over the holidays. I feel very thankful to share that her 16-month-old survived—she is one of the lucky ones. I met the mother of Reese, who passed away after ingesting a button battery, last year and was in awe of her bravery and advocacy following her family’s tragedy. As a proud father of two, I am glad we could pass Reese’s Law to honor the families of those who have been injured or have died after ingesting button cell batteries and to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future. We did this in their memories, and to keep kids safe.”

The legislation was brought to Rep. Kelly’s attention by Reese’s mother, Trista Hamsmith following Reese’s death. Trista founded Reese’s Purpose, a non-profit organization founded to identify, advocate and correct safety issues impacting children and their families.

“Children’s safety is a nonpartisan issue and I’m grateful for today’s vote, one we have been working tirelessly for the past year and a half. I often talk about the plaque that was in Reese’s hospital room that read, ‘He has a plan and I have a purpose.’  Reese’s life was taken way too soon but her legacy will live on through this law so that no other family will have to suffer like ours,” said Trista Hamsmith. “Thanks to the efforts of Representative Kelly and her staff, as well as the support of Congressman Jodey Arrington, we are one step closer to protecting all children and families from the hidden dangers of button batteries through Reese’s Law.”

Button and coin batteries pose a dangerous risk to young children and infants, but products with these batteries lack proper safety standards. Swallowing button batteries can cause serious injuries for some children, especially if the battery becomes lodged in the esophagus.

This legislation will direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to create safety standards that prevent accidental ingestion of button batteries by children ages six and younger.

Reese’s Law will require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to:

  • Create performance standards requiring the compartments of a consumer product containing button cell or coin batteries to be secured in order to prevent access by children who are six years of age or younger;
  • Require warning labels in literature accompanying the product, on the packaging, and directly on the product when practical so it is visible;
  • Require warning labels to clearly identify the hazard of ingestion;
  • Require warning labels that instruct consumers to keep new and used batteries out of the reach of children, and to seek immediate medical attention is a battery is ingested.
Reese Hamsmith, Reese's Law
Reese Hamsmith. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

This legislation is endorsed by: Hallmark, the Toy Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports, Reese’s Purpose, Kids In Danger (KID), U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and the Consumer Federation of America.

This is news from Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s office.