Have you heard of fidget spinners? It’s the latest toy craze that’s taking over kids’ hearts (and parents’ wallets). And they can be deadly.
These three-pronged gadgets are supposedly a concentration aid, originally created to help children with ADHD and autism. But now that they’ve become trendy with schoolkids, they are increasingly becoming a classroom distraction.
Some UK and US schools have already banned them. In Singapore, local teachers complain that the whizzing toys are a nuisance and are confiscating them.
A fidget spinner
But learning distractions aren’t the only danger that fidget spinners pose to your kids. The small toys can also be a dangerous choking hazard, as Houston mum Kelly Rose Joniec found out.
“I saw drool pouring from her mouth”
Driving home on a peaceful Saturday, Kelly heard a strange sound from the backseat and turned. Her 10-year-old daughter, Britton, had swallowed a part from her fidget spinner and was now choking, her face turning red. According to Kelly, her daughter had “put part of her fidget spinner in her mouth to clean it and somehow swallowed it”.
The panicked mum took her daughter straight to emergency care. However, doctors faced difficulty in locating the part and only through X-ray was it found lodged in her esophagus. Thankfully, the doctors were able to remove the part via surgery and Britton has since made a full recovery.
Kelly shared about her ordeal in a Facebook post, hoping her experience would serve to warn other parents. She cautions: “Fidget spinners are the current craze so they are widely distributed. Kids of all ages may be getting them, but not all spinners come with age-appropriate warnings. The bushings pop out easily, so if you have young kids (under 8 yr old) keep in mind that these present a potential choking hazard.”
Here is Kelly’s full Facebook update on her terrifying experience:
Playing safely with fidget spinners
Other parents have also reported frightening instances where their little ones were injured by fidget spinners. One Australian mum, Molly, recounted to Kidspot that her 11-year-old son Isaac “nearly lost his eye” after the spinner which he threw in the air clipped his eye. Tragically, this left him with scarring which prevents him from seeing out of the corner of his eye.
With small detachable parts and blade-like prongs, the fidget spinner is indeed an accident-prone toy. However, banning your child from joining the craze may not be the safest answer! After all, every toy comes with some form of risk. What’s more, your kids can get access to fidget spinners via their friends and classmates.
Here are some tips to reduce the risk of tragic accidents happening to your playful child:
Talk about safe play with your kids: Many accidents come about from kids pushing the limits of fidget spinners — doing tricks or stunts. Emphasize the difference between safe and dangerous play to your little ones.
Test-drive before buying: Some spinners are designed to be more blade-like or pointed, increasing risk of lacerations. Be sure to test them out before getting one for your kids! For this reason, you might want to buy from a brick-and-mortar shop rather than ordering online.
Communicate with the teachers: Let your kids’ teachers know to keep an eye on students playing with the spinners. Ask them if they’ve noticed your kids engaging in any dangerous behaviour, like throwing them about.
Introduce other fidget toys: The fidget spinner is actually just one of many kinds of fidget toys. Its lesser-known cousins include the fidget cube, sensory rings, and fidget textured pens. Scout out safer, yet equally fun options and let your kids have a whirl with them.
ALSO READ: The top 5 ‘non-toys’ that kids love to play with!
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