Are Fidget Spinners a Serious Risk for Your Child’s Safety?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Are Fidget Spinners a Serious Risk for Your Child’s Safety?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

If you follow the news, you might have noticed one popular trend is already on its way out. The fidget spinners, which debuted and exploded earlier this year are now under heavy scrutiny by safety organizations and parents alike.

Some countries have already pulled thousands from the shelves because of claims of dangerous parts and even explosions.

What are Fidget Spinners?

Fidget spinners are small toys that have a bearing in the middle and multiple flat structures made of metal or plastic. They are designed to spin quickly along the axis with little to no effort. They grew in popularity in 2017, but smaller versions have been around since 1993.

These toys are now used heavily by children and adults to encourage them to focus. They are purported to help relieve nervous energy and stress, but there is no scientific evidence yet to back up these marketing claims. Some claim they are effective for treating ADHD and autism, but again, there is no research proving these claims.

Why are Fidget Spinners So Dangerous?

At first glance, you might not think such a small innocent-looking toy could be dangerous. However, numerous reports have started to surface about underlying hazards with these simple toys.

Choking Hazards

Fidget spinners contain multiple small components. Not only do they have small metal bearings, which help them spin, but there are rubber rings and metal components that can easily fall out of the spinner. When these spinners are inappropriately assembled, or not labeled for small children choking hazards, small children may play with them and ingest these pieces.

Multiple reports have surfaced about small children swallowing these small pieces and requiring surgical intervention to remove them. Some children have even suffered from severe choking.

It is not just small children either. In Houston, a 10-year old girl had to have surgery to remove a bearing that was caught in her esophagus. In this case, the 10-year-old was not chewing on the device. Instead, she was playing with it and while spinning a bearing flew out of the device into her mouth and she accidentally swallowed it. The metal piece was the size of a quarter.

Pieces Becoming Stuck on a Child’s Finger

The small circular openings of the fidget spinner are the perfect size for a child’s finger. Many children place the spinner on their finger and then proceed to spin that toy. However, one case saw a three-year-old boy have his finger lodged into the fidget spinner. His mother attempted to remove the piece, but ultimately had to take him to the local emergency room. Doctors had to try multiple tools before they could cut the piece safely off.

Failure to Adhere to Small Parts and Toys Requirements

The federal government has a requirement for all toy manufacturers and retailers. They are required by law to notify consumers of any small parts and choking hazards on their products. The regulation is there to prevent deaths and injuries to children from inhaling, swallowing, or choking objects that can easily fit in the mouth.

You most likely have seen these warnings yourself present on a child’s toy. It will say that the toy has small parts and only suitable for a specific age group. Under the regulation, any small product cannot be marketed for children under the age of three.

Sadly, many of these fidget spinners do not include age recommendations or small part warnings. Some manufacturers have placed the warning labels, but they are unscrupulously difficult to read. Therefore, some countries have already begun seizing shipments of these products and banning them from the consumer market.

Potential Harmful Toxins

While the choking hazards are easily spotted, one thing parents have not realized is that fidget spinners made overseas, especially in countries like China, may contain harmful toxins. In fact, some fidget spinners that were recently tested found dangerous levels of mercury and lead.

The reports found that two brands of the 11 popular sellers had high levels of lead. One of those was a $31 item that had an astounding 42,800 ppm of lead present. These high levels could be dangerous for children and adults, especially when they are in direct contact with them every day. Furthermore, if a child were to chew or swallow these items, they could be exposed to a dramatic amount of lead.

The Exploding Fidget Spinner and Burns

Recently, fidget spinners have joined the hoverboard craze in terms of explosive products. Two reports, one out of Michigan and one from Alabama, found that Bluetooth-enabled fidget spinners caught fire while they were charging.

These spinners both had LED lights and onboard speakers, which makes them a costly investment. They allowed users to listen to music and watch the LED lights spin along with their tunes while spinning the device. Both spinners came from the same manufacturer, and the fire was caught before it led to serious property damage or injuries. However, a powered off-brand tech item could be a significant risk, especially for smaller children who may not recognize the fire hazard.

What Parents Can Do

If your child has a fidget spinner or you are thinking of purchasing one, be sure that you do your part to ensure your child’s fidget spinner is not a hazard.

  • Check for small and loose components. Inspect the device carefully and look for anything that has a small part or that could easily break lose and be swallowed if misused. Then, keep those products away from any small children.
  • Remove broken fidget spinners from the house. With frequent use, fidget spinners can lose their metal bearings and rubber components. Therefore, you should throw away any broken fidget spinners in your home to prevent a small child from getting ahold of them.
  • Read the labels carefully. Always inspect the warning labels carefully for your fidget spinner. If you see that the recommended age is five or older, then do not let a younger child play with that toy.
  • Supervise children while using their fidget spinners. You should always monitor your children any time they are playing with a new toy to ensure they use it properly, but that it functions as it should and is safe.
  • Notify the authorities if you notice any issues. If you notice that your product does not have proper warning labels or there are any product defects, notify the CPSC immediately with your problems as well as the manufacturer.

Product Manufacturers are Held to a Higher Standard

Dangerous fidget spinners could lead to toxic levels of lead in small children, choking hazards, and severe burns. If parents are not monitoring children carefully, a child could potentially suffer from a life-threatening choking incident.

Dangerous toys should not only be reported to the authorities, but parents of small children injured by these defective toys have options under product liability laws.

Millions of children’s toys are sold in the United States each year. Parents who purchase these products assume that they have been properly tested to meet all safety standards. However, this is not always the case. In fact, product liability attorneys, like those at Malman Law, are more than aware of how infrequently these products are monitored.

Companies that sell, manufacture, or distribute defective toys are held to a higher standard of safety because they are providing products for children, the most valuable population of the world. Therefore, when a manufacturer fails to ensure that their products are safe, they could face a product liability lawsuit.

What is a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Product liability lawsuits allow attorneys to expose dangerous defects in children’s toys. They also allow families to receive compensation for the injuries they have encountered. Due to the volume of products on the market today, an attorney will take on the task of investigating, researching, and filing a claim against the liable party.

Toy claims are based on the legal concept of product liability. When a parent alleges that a toy was defective by design or during manufacturing, they hold the designer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer responsible for the injuries their child would have not suffered had they not interacted with that toy.

Regardless of the type or extent of a child’s injury, the legal basis for this type of claim is based on designer and manufacturer negligence.

What Must I Prove for a Product Liability Case?

If your child is injured by a dangerous toy, you will be upset, confused, and may not even know that the injury was the result of a defective plaything. Once you realize that it is was a defective product, you must prove four elements to succeed with your claim:

  • Show that the product was defective;
  • Prove that the manufacturer or designer was negligent when they made the product; therefore, leading to its defect.
  • Show that their negligence was the direct cause of your child’s injury.
  • Your child’s injury resulted in financial and emotional damages.

Speak with a Product Liability Attorney in Your Area Today

Whether it is a fidget spinner or another defective toy, you have the right to hold manufacturers to standards of safety. Speak with a product liability attorney at Malman Law to explore your options. Our attorneys aggressively fight for your right to compensation, and we hold manufacturers responsible for any dangerous products they put on the market.

Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation at 888-247-2160 or request your appointment online to get started.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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