Fidget spinners are the latest new toy that has taken the world of social media by storm. Everyone from children to adults are obsessed with the fidgety toy. The toy which was made to increase concentration and reduce anxiety has caused a lot of uproar among parents and schools. But as the toy got popular, new evidence proving its dangers and risks also came forward.
The basic fidget spinner model is relatively safe, but the ones with blades, LED lights, and detachable parts raise concern. Unsupervised use of the toy can result in a choking hazard.
Shane Holtsclaw, a firefighter, recently rescued his daughter, Emma, from choking on the toy. Emma was playing with the toy when one of the metal bearings came out and flew into her mouth, making her choke. Shane kept giving her back blows until she started breathing. An X-ray report revealed that Emma swallowed a piece which was the size of a quarter.
This isn’t the only story that has caught media attention. In May 2017, 10-year old Houston girl had to undergo surgery to remove a bearing stuck in her esophagus.
Carol Woods is a Missouri-based mother of a three-year old boy. Her son was injured after a piece of fidget spinner got stuck on his middle finger. Woods tried taking it off herself but was unsuccessful in her attempts. She had to take him to the urgent care center and ultimately to the ER where two-three doctors used multiple tools to cut the spinner piece.
After many such scary incidents, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that they are taking a closer look at these toys. They are currently investigating the incidents with kids who have swallowed fidget spinner parts in Oregon and Texas. CPSC released a statement via ABC News saying that they advise parents to keep the fidget toy away from their children because they can choke on its parts and also warn older children not to put them in their mouths.
Tamara Rubin is a lead poisoning prevention advocate and documentary filmmaker based in the US. Recently, she tested several brands of fidget spinners and found shocking amounts of lead in some of them.
Good Housekeeping Institute’s experts tested branded and counterfeit fidget spinners in their Consumer Electronics and Engineering labs. They found that both branded and counterfeit fidget spinners broke into pieces that could be considered a potential choking hazard for children. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping Institute’s Chief Technologist and Director of Engineering said that parents could pass the metal bearing through the toilet paper roll. If it goes through the roll, the fidget spinner is unsafe for children to use. Rothman said that children between the age of three and six should use the spinner under parental supervision only.
There are even smaller fidget spinners which could be even riskier for younger children. Doctors across the globe have claimed that these tiny toys do more harm than good. When a parent who has an eight-year old with ADHD, was asked if she would prefer her child using fidget spinner to calm him, she declined. The mother, Dr Anniemarie Christie, said that the toy is too big, too noisy, too flashy, gives instant gratification, and has no medical evidence that proves it to be calming. Christie said that children would be benefited more if they keep away electronics and toys and instead build cubby houses, climb trees, play soccer, and ride bikes to feel better.
So, if your child’s teacher is complaining about him not being attentive enough in class and having behavioral issues, rather than handing him a fidget spinner, there are several other behavior modifications and concentration strategies that can be used.