Big W joins Officeworks in pausing sale of Apple AirTags over child safety

Retail giants Big W and JB Hi-Fi have joined the list of retail chains banning the sale of Apple’s new AirTags due to child safety concerns.

In late April, Apple unveiled its own version of Tile technology – a device that uses Bluetooth to track personal belongings to your smartphone.

However, reports surfaced online earlier this month from customers who were told at Officeworks stores the AirTag was temporarily unavailable. Officeworks also removed the product from its website.

Officeworks was concerned about how easily a child could remove the cell battery, which could be swallowed due to its small size.

Big W confirmed that the Woolworths-owned discount department stores had also discontinued the sale of AirTags.

“Big W does not currently range Apple AirTags. We will be working with our partners at Apple to review any potential issues before offering them as part of our range to customers,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

It has been reported that JB Hi-Fi has also suspended AirTags but has not yet responded to requests for comment.

AirTags act like a key finder, helping find products. Picture: Supplied
AirTags act like a key finder, helping find products. 

Apple doubled down on its insistence AirTags met safety standards.

“AirTag is designed to meet international child safety standards, including those in Australia, by requiring a two step push-and-turn mechanism to access the user-replaceable battery,” Apple (Australia) told in a statement.

“We are following the regulations closely and are working to ensure that our products will meet or exceed new standards, including those for package labelling, well ahead of the timeline required.”

AirTags are sleek and come in a leather casing, costing $45 each or four for $149.

They can be attached to keys, backpacks, luggage and other objects as you would a Tile.

The product uses an iPhone’s camera, accelerometer and gyroscope, along with visual and haptic feedback, to help locate the item.

They can be monitored in the Find My app.

In December, the federal government announced new mandatory safety and information standards for button batteries and products that contain them.

There are requirements for secure battery compartments, child resistant packaging and warnings and information.

The standards include an 18-month transition period and will come into force on 22 July 2022, but are not mandatory now.

However Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urged manufacturers to comply with the standards before the deadline.

AirTags can be attached to a range of personal items. Picture: Supplied
AirTags can be attached to a range of personal items. 
Hermes accessories are available for use with Apple AirTags. Picture: Supplied
Hermes accessories are available for use with Apple AirTags. 

The ACCC urged all commercial retailers to suspend and report products they thought could have dangerous button cell battery components.

“The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” an ACCC statement read.

“If a supplier finds a product they supply is unsafe, the ACCC expects the supplier to conduct a voluntary recall to advise consumers of the risk, address the safety issue, or remove the product from the market.

“If a supplier becomes aware of a serious injury, illness or death caused by a product they supply, the supplier must make a mandatory injury report through the Product Safety Australia website.”