Auto battery safety

A chemical burn (acid or alkali) causes one of the most serious and sight-threatening types of eye injuries.  The leading cause of acid burns to the eye is exploding car batteries.  Safety guidelines for jump-starting a car battery include:

  • In your car, keep a pair of splash-proof polycarbonate goggles with the designation Z-87 on the frame.  Always wear these goggles when re-charging a car battery.
  • Jumper cables should be rust and corrosive-free.  Jumper cables with exposed wires (even if they have been covered with electrical tape) should never be used to jump-start a car.
  • Attach the negative ground of the dead battery last.
  • Always purchase the battery recommended by your car’s manufacturer.
  • Never improperly dispose of a battery by throwing it in a dumpster or trashcan.  Ask your mechanic or service station where it can be disposed in an appropriate manner.
  • Never jump-start a battery if the radiator fluid, gas or battery fluid is frozen.
  • Always call a professional if you are unsure of how to properly jump-start a vehicle.

When a chemical injury occurs the eyes should be irrigated for at least fifteen minutes with any neutral fluid that is available (e.g., saline solution or water).  After irrigating the eye, emergency medical care should be sought immediately.