Child Swallows Part of Fidget Spinner: Mom’s Warning to Parents

fidget spinner

You’ve heard about fidget spinners, yes? The latest toy craze, which is getting banned from schools—including my daughter’s!—for driving teachers crazy? When I originally heard of them a couple weeks, ago, they’d originally been marketed as a focusing tool for folks with ADHD, but the phenomenon is so big now that they’re more like stress relievers, distractions for quitting bad habits, or toys. Here at Baby Gizmo, we’ve shown you how to create a custom painted unicorn version, and for DIY folks (or those who can’t wait to order them because they’ve been sold out at so many places) I found a DIY LEGO version, too. STEAM plus play is awesome! And while the fidgeting (or throwing or trading of fidget spinners) can be a distraction in the classroom, overall, these seem pretty harmless. But…

fidget spinner
Photo credit: Kelly Joniec via Facebook.

Mom Kelly Joniec is sharing a warning via Facebook about the potential danger of fidget spinners after a bushing (the round metal or plastic O-shaped part on the ends of the spinner’s arms) got lodged in her ten-year-old daughter’s esophagus. The two were driving in the car when Kelly heard strange noises coming from her daughter. Her daughter was able to communicate that she had swallowed part of the fidget spinner after putting it in her mouth to clean it. The two went to urgent care, where staff put them in an ambulance and sent them to the hospital.

“Frantic, I went straight to urgent care where they checked her for choking. They couldn’t discern where the foreign object was located – along the airway or the esophagus. From there we got the red-light treatment via ambulance 🚑 to Texas Children’s Hospital. X-ray showed the spinner bushing lodged in her esophagus. The GI doctor was fascinated…he’d only just learned of fidget spinners that morning when he was at the mall with his son, so it was a surprise to be faced with one in a case a few hours later.”

Ultimately, it was necessary to remove the fidget spinner piece endoscopically. Aside from the terror of the whole choking thing, Kelly also pointed out that it was scary because of the material used to make the bushing and the risks of general anesthesia, which we’d like our kids to avoid undertaking.

fidget spinner
Photo credit: Kelly Joniec via Facebook.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time safety concerns have been raised. Romper notes that these toys are generally not safe for toddlers or younger children, unless you’re buying from a reputable child-focused stores like Learning Express—and even then the recommended age is 6 and up. When you’re buying a five-dollar toy online, especially from a site like Amazon, quality can be a little iffy.

Some tips for safe spinning:

  • Don’t go cheap. This toy is tempting in part because it’s so inexpensive. The price makes you figure: why not give your kid what they want this time? Invest a little more in a higher quality spinner that works more effectively and that will have better quality materials and construction.
  • Keep these toys away from young children. I didn’t see any age recommendations on the spinners I looked at on Amazon. Based on her scare, Kelly suggests that you not give these toys to kids under the age of eight years.
  • Like any other small toys and/or toys with small parts, keep fidget spinners out of your mouth! If you need to clean yours, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In the absence of those, at least use a paper towel and water, and not your saliva.

We’re grateful to Kelly for sharing her story and providing a warning to parents who hadn’t considered the potential hazards of such a seemingly innocuous toy.

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Christina lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at several different places, and her particular passion is for her role as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.

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