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…
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.
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.