The rising popularity of a new toy known as a fidget spinner has children everywhere begging their parents to buy them one. Unlike the hoverboard and other toy trends, the devices don’t require kids to move strenuously and aren’t costly. The small toys range in price from $3 to $15 and spin between the user’s thumb and middle finger. Children from elementary school, middle school, and even high school have taken a keen interest in the toys, causing many distributors and retailers to sell out of them quickly. Some mental health experts say that the toys helps children with ADHD focus and eases anxiety, but medical professionals and concerned parents are singing a different tune. Ever since the fidget spinners hit the market there has been an increase in injuries linked to the toys. Parents of children who have been harmed due to the toys have warned other parents about the hazards associated with them.
Of these vocal parents is Oregon mother Johely Morelos. She shared the scary moment she experienced when her son swallowed a part of the toy on social media. The 23-year-old mother recalls telling her five-year-old son, Cayden, to never put the spinner in his mouth when she purchased it. While she ran an errand at Walmart, she had her sister babysit Cayden until she got back. Before his aunt knew it, the boy had popped out a loose part of the toy, put it in his mouth and swallowed it. He was rushed to a local hospital and hospital staff struggled to remove the part from his chest. They informed Johely that the only way to retrieve the part would be through surgical removal. After two hours of surgery, Cayden had a visibly swollen lip and he complained of a sore throat, but the next day he was back to normal like nothing happened.
As a result of her son’s health scare, Johely and several other child safety advocacy groups are demanding that the fidget spinners be recalled to provide a choking hazard warning on them. After all, any toys with marketing aimed towards children must take steps to put a label on products that may pose choking hazards, according to federal small part regulations. As of this month, none of Amazon’s best-selling fidget spinners include a choking hazard on their product.
Johely’s concerns have been mirrored by federal organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is actively following up on a case involving a 10-year-old girl who like Cayden, choked on a fidget spinner part. Scott Wolfson, the spokesperson for the commission encourages every parent who has had bad experiences with the fidget spinners to report the incident immediately.
“Choking risks to children are traditionally a priority for our agency so we take that very seriously,” Wolfson said. “It’s early in the process for us but we’re taking the issue seriously. We would encourage anyone that has an incident to use SaferProducts.gov to report it right away.”