Big retailers are getting behind the ACCC’s plans for button battery safety.

About 20 Australian children end up in emergency rooms each week after suspected exposure to button batteries.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recalled 15 products in the past 18 months for containing unsafe button batteries.

The consumer regulator has proposed a new code forcing consumer goods to have a battery compartment that requires a tool to be opened, or two or more independent and simultaneous actions to remove it.

The development of the ACCC’s Industry Code for Consumer Goods that Contain Button Batteries was led by Officeworks, featuring input from importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, industry associations, testing and standards and regulatory affairs businesses.

Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and other big retailers say they already support the new code.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard says their enthusiasm is welcome, but the watchdog would step in self-regulation slipped.

“The ACCC and state and territory fair trading regulators will be monitoring this very closely and if we don't see adequate improvement, we will be putting a case to government about the need for stronger regulation,” she said.