By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center
From beanie babies to video games, there is always that one toy that every kid has to own. The most recent craze, fidget spinners, has been marketed as not only a toy, but also a device to help children with attention issues. They’ve been touted as instruments that help decrease anxiety and help children focus. But, how safe are these little spinners?
According to Patty Huang, MD of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, these trendy toys are not all they’re cracked up to be.
Parents should exercise caution when purchasing fidget spinners because:
- Inside these spinners, there are small metal bearings that can become loose and pop out. This can present a choking hazard for small children who have a tendency to put small objects in their mouths. Many fidget spinners do not include a warning that these toys can present a choking hazard, so parents might not be aware that they are inappropriate for young children.
- Some include Bluetooth technology that has actually caught on fire. Other fidget spinners with this technology have exploded.
- There have been reports that predators have tried to lure children by offering them fidget spinners.
- Plastic or metal parts of the spinners have been known to break away and cut into the user’s fingers, especially in cases where young children with small fingers were playing with the spinners.
Also, while many parents initially bought fidget spinners to help children with concentration issues, they quickly found that they were more of a distraction than a tool for helping children focus. In fact, according to CBS News, a survey of 200 schools found that 1/3 had banned fidget spinners from the classrooms because they were such a nuisance.
In addition to monitoring your child’s usage of fidget spinners, it’s important for parents and caregivers to routinely check all toys for possible malfunction and/or typical wear and tear that could make the items dangerous.
The Good Housekeeping Institute advises that if possible, registering your child’s toys is important. This way, parents can stay up-to-date with any recalls. It’s also a good idea to carefully read all labels associated with toys to make sure they are appropriate for the child who intends to use them. Finally, adult supervision is always recommended to ensure children play safely and all pieces of the toy stay intact. Broken toys should be fixed properly or discarded immediately.
Has your child asked for a fidget spinner? What alternative options would you consider?