Saturday 18 January 2020

Parents warned kids' fidget spinners 'carry risk of choking'

Fidget spinners could be a choking hazard
Fidget spinners could be a choking hazard

Samuel Bennett

Popular fidget spinners also pose a potential danger, a consumer watchdog group has warned.

The small plastic and metal spinners, already banned in many schools because they distract students, can fall apart, and the small pieces can create a choking hazard, Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm (Watch) said in its summer safety report.

Children in Texas and Oregon have been taken to hospital after choking on fidget spinner pieces, Watch said.

German customs officials last week destroyed 39 tons of the hand-held whirling gizmos (below) due to safety concerns.

"Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that a toy is safe simply because it is popular," Watch president Joan Siff said.

The group also warned about the fire dangers posed by lithium batteries in hoverboards; the potential for blunt-force injuries from plastic weapons based on superhero movies, and impact injuries from non-motorised scooters.

Not all the possible safety hazards on the Watch list had to do with children's playthings. It also included warnings about water safety, and the risks posed by clothing drawstrings.

However, Joan Lawrence, vice president of safety standards at The Toy Association, said Watch did not tell the whole story and "tends to needlessly frighten parents".

Toy safety is highly regulated under federal law, she said.

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