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To help avoid holiday disappointment, include the batteries with your presents

Portable music players and electronic games are predicted to be hot items again this holiday season.

While these gadget gifts vary in function, there is one characteristic they have in common — they all need batteries.

A recent survey by a battery manufacturer shows that more than half of all Americans were disappointed when they received battery-powered gifts for the holidays and didn't have the batteries on hand to use them. To help avoid disappointment this year, make sure to purchase batteries every time you purchase an electronic gift.

If you are stuffing any stockings this holiday season, giving batteries is another great idea, since more than 70 percent of gift-givers surveyed plan to purchase between one and five battery-powered gifts for their loved ones and friends.

Even if you're not giving a battery-operated device, chances are high that someone you know will need batteries for another present they receive. Be sure to choose a brand of battery that you trust to provide long-lasting and reliable power.

With so many battery-powered gadgets on hand this holiday season, battery manufacturers offer the following reminders to help keep your batteries and devices in top operating condition:

• Don't store batteries in the refrigerator or freezer. Batteries are best kept in a dry place at normal room temperature. Extreme heat or cold reduces battery life and performance.

• Be sure to align your batteries positive (+) and negative (-) terminals correctly when inserting them into a device. Some devices may appear to work properly if one battery is inserted incorrectly, but this can lead to battery leakage, rupture and possible device damage and or personal injury.

• Never attempt to recharge a battery unless the battery specifically is marked "rechargeable." Recharging a non-rechargeable battery may cause rupture or leakage and personal injury.

• Replace all your device's batteries at the same time. Mixing old and new batteries in a device can lead to battery leakage and device damage.

• Remove batteries from a device when it is not expected to be in use for several months. Batteries should also be removed from equipment while it is being powered by household current.

• Always replace the battery or batteries in your equipment with the size and type of battery specified by the equipment manufacturer. Using the wrong type or size could cause malfunction or equipment damage.

• Do not store batteries loosely or carry them loose in your pocket or purse. They can be shorted by contact with metal objects and leak or rupture and may cause personal injury.

• Primary batteries should be discarded with your regular household trash. Never dispose of batteries in fire because they could explode.

• Keep battery contact surfaces and battery compartment contacts clean by rubbing them with a clean pencil eraser or a clean cloth each time you replace batteries.

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