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Fidget Spinners: Popular Toy Marketed To Help Kids With ADHD Poses Choking Hazards

19 June 2017, 11:08 pm EDT By Allan Adamson Tech Times
Fidget spinners have small metal parts that pose choking hazards to children. What do experts say about the benefits of these toys to kids with ADHD and anxiety?  ( Drew Angerer | Getty Images )

Fidget spinners are one of the hottest toys this summer, but parents should think twice about giving this plaything to their kids after several reports of children choking on parts of this gadget have emerged.

Fidget Spinner Metal Piece Choking Incidents

Last month, a 10-year-old girl required surgery to remove one of the metal pieces of the fidget toy that she accidentally swallowed. The incident happened after the child put the toy in her mouth to "clean it."

In another case, a professional firefighter had to rescue his daughter after a freak incident with the plaything. The child was playing with the toy when one of the metal bearings came loose, flew, and went into the child's mouth.

The child started choking. Fortunately, her father managed to give her back blow until she was able to breathe. An X-ray at the hospital revealed that the child swallowed the metal piece, which was about the size of a quarter.

Not For Young Children

The Consumer Product Safety Commission now investigates incidents that involve fidget spinners. Doctors also warn parents about the dangers of fidget spinners, advising them not to give the toy to very young kids and to tell older children about the risk of these items.

"I think parents need to educate their children about the danger of these," said Nina Shapiro from UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. "So I think just not to give these to younger children, children under six, and for older children to really explain that these are toys, but they also have risks. They should not be put in their mouths, they should not be taken apart."

Based on tests conducted by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute of different fidget spinners sold in the market, both brand-name spinners and knock-offs, come with parts that can potentially choke children below 3 years of age if the toys broke off.

Toys with choking hazards are also supposed to be labeled, but researchers at the institute discovered that some of the products do not have age ratings and warnings about the choking hazards for young kids. Experts nonetheless advise parents to keep the toy away from their children, particularly those under 6 years old.

Stress-Relieving Toy For Children And Adults With ADHD And Anxiety

Fidget spinners are marketed as a stress-relieving toy that can help people with "restless energy" to focus. Some parents decide to buy them to help their kids concentrate, but clinical psychologist Scott Kollins said that there is no evidence that supports these supposed benefits of fidget spinners.

Kollins said that there has been no study on the efficacy and safety of these toys for helping children, adolescents, and even adults to manage symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

"The observations by parents or teachers are interesting but without carefully controlled studies, it's impossible to draw any sorts of conclusions about whether these toys are useful, and it's hard to imagine any sort of reasonable rationale as to why they would offer benefit," Kollins said.

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