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Fidget Spinners: A Choking Hazard Without Warning

Published on Jun 27, 2017 at 2:29 pm in Product Liability.

Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze sweeping the country.  They consist of small pieces of plastic, metal, and a ball bearing that the user can rotate between their fingers.  Fidget spinners act as a release mechanism for people with nervous energy or psychological stress.

Initially the toy was marketed for children and adults who struggle with focusing or fidgeting, such as those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. But their popularity has increased beyond their initial target group and children of all ages can be seen playing with fidget spinner toys.

Many teachers find them to be more distracting than helpful, and schools are beginning to ban fidget spinners from being used in classrooms.  But recent news articles suggest that fidget spinners are more than a distraction problem in the classroom.  Their small parts make them a dangerous choking hazard, and not just for small children.

Who Is at Risk for Choking on a Fidget Spinner Toy?

Recently in Texas, a 10-year-old girl was riding in the backseat of her mother’s car when she began choking on a metal piece that had detached from her fidget spinner.  She was cleaning the toy in her mouth when the piece broke off and slipped down her throat.  She was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery under general anesthesia to remove the piece from her throat and restore proper breathing.

Another girl in Indiana was riding in the backseat of her father’s car and spinning her fidget spinner when one of the metal bearings broke off, flew into her mouth, and became lodged in her throat.  Her father, a local firefighter, did five minutes of back blows before the metal ring became dislodged and went to her stomach.  She was later released from the hospital without any further complications.

Fidget Spinners Do Not Come with Warnings from the Manufacturer

There are many brands of fidget spinners available to consumers.  Not all of them come with warnings for parents to consider the device as a choking hazard.  One manufacturer that sells fidget spinners on Amazon.com states the toy is “suitable” for children 10-years and older.  Another displays a clear label, “CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.”

In light of many manufacturer’s failures to do so, pediatricians across the country are attempting to issue warnings to parents of children with spinner toys.  Children under the age of 3 years should never play with a fidget spinner toy.  Children ages 3-6 years should only play with fidget spinners under strict adult supervision.  For children older than 6 years, pediatricians are encouraging parents to discuss with their children the dangers of playing with fidget spinners, and warn that their children should never put their toy in their mouth.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle pediatrician, was not surprised that a 10-year-old child put her toy in her mouth.  Fidget spinners are designed to capture the attention of children with nervous habits.  “Think about how kids chew on pencils,” she said.  “These spinners potentially capture attention of kids of all ages, and all ages may fiddle, fidget, and put them in their mouth.  An adult could do this just as easy as a child.”

Manufacturers, especially those of toys, have an obligation to warn consumers of any risk for danger.  Failing to warn parents that a toy is not safe for some children places innocent children in harm’s way.  If you or someone you love has experienced a fidget spinner as a choking hazard, and the toy was sold without a manufacturer’s issued warning, a Louisville product liability lawyer can help.

Thomas Law Offices is dedicated to protecting every child in Kentucky from toys with manufacturer defects.  We believe that every child has the right to play without the risk of danger or harm from toys.  Contact our experienced legal team today for a free, zero-obligation consultation of your product liability case.  Holding manufacturers responsible can help your family recover damages and keep other innocent children in Kentucky safe.