Parents warned over dangerous battery mistake we all make ahead of Christmas

Many parents will be stocking up on batteries during the festive period to ensure their little ones can get full enjoyment out of the new toys Santa brings on Christmas morning.

It’s wise to stock up on some spares and some may even dig out some older batteries when the first wave are inevitably drained – but experts have warned of a very common and little-known danger that can come with it.

While many of us will sacrifice batteries from other items in our home, energy giants including Duracell have warned of the danger of mixing old and new batteries in the same device.

Duracell states that doing so can cause batteries to leak or rupture, spilling chemicals that can be harmful to humans and pets, and can also damage surfaces.

It writes on its website: “Do not mix old and new batteries. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may cause battery leakage or rupture.

“We do recommend changing all batteries in a unit at the same time. A partially used battery will drain energy from a new one, reducing the total amount of battery power available.”

It also says you should never mix different battery types as each is designed for a differing purposes, stating: “Mixing a lithium battery with an alkaline battery will not improve device performance. In fact, it will reduce performance and may even damage your device or cause battery leakage or rupture.

“As well, do not mix different battery brands within a device. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may also cause battery leakage or rupture. We recommend using the same type of batteries within a device.”

If a battery does leak, Duracell advises protecting yourself with household gloves and glasses before you begin the clean up, using an old toothbrush or cotton swab to remove the leaked fluid from the electrical contact points. It adds: “Ensure the electronic device is completely dry before trying a new battery.”

It also provided tips on how to make batteries last longer, suggesting turning off battery-operated radios and appliances when not in use and removing batteries from devices that won’t be used for an extended period of time. Batteries should be stored in a dry place at room temperature without the contact points touching one another.

Duracell added there are “no safety issues” when using rechargeable batteries in toys.