The fidget spinner craze continues all over the world, but authorities are warning parents about cheap models that may harm children.
According to trading standards, the low-quality versions of the toy have small and sharp edges that could lead to choking when it’s spun.
About a month ago, 800 fidget spinners (that cost about £4,000) imported from China to London’s Heathrow airport were seized by trading standards authorities.
“Fidget spinners have become a huge playground craze but some manufacturers seem to be attempting to cash in on soaring demand by making poor quality and potentially dangerous versions of these popular toys,” said Denise Turner-Stewart, the council’s member for communities.
In May, customs authorities in the Frankfurt airport seized 35 metric tons (or 39 U.S. tons) of fidget spinners, which are also from China.
According to customs, they tested the products and found that small pieces could fall off and pose choking hazards to small children. There were also reportedly no legible details on the packaging—ie. where the product was made, toy instructions and other essential information.
How fidget spinners work
The fidget spinner rose to popularity just this year, promising a better focus to children who have ADHD, autism, and anxiety.
The idea is for the spinner—which is usually made with materials like stainless steel, copper, plastic, and brass—is to rotate in between the fingers. Manufacturers claim that by spinning and twirling the device, people with these cases will be able to concentrate better.
However, many scientists disagree. According to Mark Rapport, a psychologist at clinical psychologist at the University of Central Florida, it could actually be the opposite: “Using a spinner-like gadget is more likely to serve as a distraction than a benefit for individuals with ADHD.”
A recent review by journal Current Opinion in Pediatrics, as reported by Live Science, said that there has been no research that specifically focused on the toys and attention and focus.
Ruth Milanaik, a co-author of the study, said that there is no science behind the claim that fidget spinners increase attention. “We have to view it as what it is: It’s a toy, a fun toy,” she added.
A reported case of fidget spinner swallowing
There have been a number of fidget spinner cases wherein a child would swallow or choke on a small part of the spinner.
One example of which happened in Australia. A seven-year-old boy from Sydney swallowed a small disc the flew from the spinner while he was playing, just 24 hours after purchase. He was rushed to the hospital, and after an X-ray, doctors found the tiny disc in his stomach.
He is reportedly well now, but his mother said that the spinners have already been disposed of.
“He was spinning it and it just flew out into his mouth and he swallowed it,” said his mother Jade. “When I checked the spinner they pop out very easily, and the one he swallowed, the side was cracked.
It was not made clear where the said fidget spinner was manufactured, but the mom made sure that it was reported to the store where it was bought, who then forwarded the case to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.