Child Safety Alert: Fidget Spinners Can Puncture Skin and Eyes
August 31, 2017
Recently published data reveals more information on how dangerous and injury-causing fidget spinners can be – particularly for young children. Product safety experts conducted multiple tests on lower quality, imported fidget spinners, and found that their edges are sharp enough to puncture children’s eyes and skin. These same experts noted that the parts are small enough to cause swallowing hazards.
Fidget spinners grew to popularity just this year, although earlier versions have been sold since the 90’s. They claim to reduce anxiety, fidgeting and psychological stress. Many kids and teens use them to reduce symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD) or autism, however so far, no research has confirmed the claims that these toys effectively help reduce symptoms of these conditions.
The toys are designed to spin with minimal effort: a person holds on to the circular bearing, which allows the two or three attached prongs to spin. They can be made out of plastic, brass, titanium, copper, stainless steel or aluminum, and their bearings are often made from ceramic or stainless steel. Depending on the material, a fidget spinner may be more or less likely to cause consumer injuries.
Because they are so popular, many manufacturers are trying to make a quick – and unsafe – buck by selling lower quality or imported fidget spinners that are defectively designed or constructed with sharp, puncture-causing edges. Just like with other unsafe or dangerous products on the market, all too often manufacturers put financial profits over people, oftentimes with catastrophic results.
There have been numerous cases of fidget spinners causing lacerations – and other consumer safety agencies reported cases of the toys being stuck on or around a child’s hand or finger(s), resulting in amputation. In addition, a 10-year-old girl in Texas had to go to the ER after swallowing a loose fidget spinner part; the toy got lodged in her esophagus, requiring surgical removal. In fact, multiple children across the country have needed surgery to remove swallowed toy parts. Medical providers have also report eye injuries. These toys pose multiple hazards and injury risks to their consumers. Children, being a large part of their consumer pool, particularly need protection.
It should come as no surprise that fidget spinners are poorly regulated. This poses a particular danger to consumers, because it means that manufacturers are not required to comply with federal safety and performance standards, which are in place to prevent consumer injuries.
The only requirements that manufacturers and retailers must meet depend on the type of fidget spinner. General use products are ones not specifically designed for children (age 12 and under). If a manufacturer classifies a fidget spinner as a general use product, it does not have to meet any requirements set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If they classify it as a children’s product, it must come with permanent tracking information and meet various chemical (lead and phthalate) amount limits. Sadly, these regulations are not comprehensive enough to protect young consumers from injuries. Even classifying fidget spinners as children’s products would not protect against other injuries like lacerations and punctures to skin and eyes and swallowing risks associated with poorly designed and manufactured fidget spinners.
Because of multiple swallowing cases, high-risk surgical procedures and overall health hazards, the CPSC has instructed parents to keep fidget spinners away from their young children altogether. The commission advises parents to warn their older children about swallowing risks and to ensure that their younger children will not have access to the toys. Currently, the CPSC is conducting a thorough investigation into the safety of fidget spinners – perhaps the findings will lead it to put in place the necessary federal regulations to better oversee consumer safety.
If your child or teen owns a fidget spinner, we have compiled some of the general guidelines and tips from the CPSC, which may help to decrease chances of sustaining injuries. Some of the tips include:
- Never allow children under 3 to use or be near fidget spinners;
- Warn every child – regardless of his or her age – to not put fidget spinners or small pieces of the product into their mouths;
- Do not allow kids to put or play with fidget spinners near their faces;
For those who own battery-powered fidget spinners:
- Never charge a fidget spinner overnight;
- Never charge it when you aren’t close-by;
- After the fidget spinner charges, unplug it completely, and;
- Make sure all the smoke alarms in your home are up-to-date and working correctly in case the product malfunctions.
To read all the CPSC’s statement on fidget spinners and its safety tips, please click here: https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fidget-Spinners-Safety-Information-Center. If you have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact a representative at our firm.
Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Fight for Victims of Defective Products
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from a fidget spinner, please contact our Philadelphia product liability lawyers. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Galfand Berger serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.