Controls, Legislation + Regulation

Reese’s Law Impacts Lighting & Ceiling Fan Handheld Remotes

Reese’s Law Impacts Lighting & Ceiling Fan Handheld Remotes


On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed Reese’s Law (P.L. 117-171), which aims to protect children 6 years and younger from accidentally swallowing button cell and coin batteries. Reese’s law requires the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to promulgate a safety standard for these batteries and consumer products containing these batteries. This law raises a host of compliance questions for manufacturers and importers including what products will be covered, what performance standards will apply, and what will be required in terms of labeling and packaging.

Button cell and coin batteries can be found in many consumer products. They power: key fobs, remote controls, bathroom scales, electronic watches and jewelry, decorative ornaments, flameless candles, and even musical greeting cards. Remote controls are used to control many lighting and ceiling fan products. Unfortunately, ingested coin batteries pose risks of choking and chemical leakage, leading to burns and tissue damage.

Section 2 of Reese’s Law requires the CPSC to mandate by rule performance standards for battery compartments and warning labels on products containing button cell or coin batteries and their packaging, and instruction manuals.

On February 9, 2023, the CPSC met the congressional mandate in Reese’s Law and issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) on performance and labeling of button cell and coil batteries. Per the NPR, performance requirements vary depending on if the battery compartment is designed for replaceable or non-replaceable batteries:

  • For replaceable batteries, products should (1) have a locked compartment that requires a coin, screwdriver, or household tool to access; or (2) require two independent and simultaneous hand movements to access the battery compartment.  The battery compartments also need to meet certain use, abuse, and accessibility tests which judge performance during reasonably foreseeable use or misuse of the product. For example, heat pre-conditioning stresses the plastic components to simulate more realistically the product’s condition during normal use, and mechanical pre-conditioning requires the compartment to be opened and closed a number of times to assess durability and the ability to remain secure over time under repeated use. Accessibility testing probes the product based on the size of a child’s finger to verify whether the compartment can be opened by children.
  • For non-replaceable batteries, products must meet the same requirements as those with removable batteries, or be secured with soldering, fasteners such as rivets, or equivalent means. The compartments must also be tested for secureness by, for example, using a test hook to apply a force of 22 N (4.9 lbf) directed outwards for 10 seconds at all possible points to ensure the battery cannot be freed from the product.

Also, according to the NPR, warning labels will be regulated in terms of both placement and content.  Warning labels must be included both on packaging and directly on products when practicable. Labels directly on products must be visible while the battery is being replaced or upon access to the battery compartment. They must be visible, prominent, legible, and permanent; use contrasting colors and a “WARNING” statement in black letters on an orange background; contain a safety alert symbol; and include the following messages in bold and capital letters:

  • “KEEP new and used batteries OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN”
  • “Seek immediate medical attention if a battery is suspected to be swallowed or inserted inside any part of the body”

In addition to the warning labels required for products and packaging, instructions and manuals accompanying consumer products with button cell and coin batteries must include three additional statements:

  • “Immediately dispose of used batteries and keep away from children. Do NOT dispose of batteries in household trash.”
  • “Even used batteries may cause severe injury or death”
  • “Call a local poison control center for treatment information”

Notably, batteries that are already packaged and marked in accordance with ANSI C18.3M, the Safety Standard for Portable Lithium Primary Cells and Batteries, are exempt from packaging requirements (Section 3).

The CPSC has identified Reese’s Law as a high priority for 2023. Manufacturers (and anyone else in the supply chain) who deal with button or coin cell batteries or consumer products that contain these batteries should educate themselves on the requirements for performance, labeling and packaging.



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