The button cell available in Apple AirTags should not initially be replaced with a child-proof variant, because this can be incompatible. Apple announced this in a support document for replacing the battery in the small UWB trackers.
Alerts from consumer protection authorities
Previously, there had been warnings from consumer protection authorities that children could swallow the candy-shaped devices; In Australia, for example, it was said that Apple had to do more than submit a warning label. The battery contained in the AirTags can cause serious damage to health if it gets into the stomach. Children could either swallow the AirTags “in one piece” or get hold of the button cell and then put it in their mouth; a simple turning movement is enough to open the AirTags.
One possible solution would be CR2023 button cells that are coated with bitter substances; large providers like Duracell sell these for example. The material is supposed to cause the youngsters to spit out a button cell inserted in their mouth because it tastes unpleasant. However, this coating apparently ensures that production tolerances that have to be adhered to with the compact AirTags are changed.
“Possibly” a problem
Like Apple writes on his website, CR2032 batteries with a bitter coating would “possibly” not work with the AirTag. This depends on the “orientation of the coating in relation to the battery contacts”. It is unpleasant that the group has not considered this – such child-safe button cells have been on the market for a long time.
So there is currently no real solution to the problem. In Australia, several large retailers have apparently already taken AirTags out of their programs because of the risk of swallowing, including the retail chain Officeworks. Apple then added a warning label to the AirTags packaging, but that does not solve fundamental concerns about the accessibility of the battery, explained the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in June. Continue the dialogue with Apple and also check what further steps are required to allay the security concerns.