Fidget spinners examined after children injured

Consumer protection in WA is launching an investigation into fidget spinners following reports of injuries

They’re the latest craze amongst school kids and have been marketed as an aid for children with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder… but fidget spinners have also been linked to significant injuries.

Among the injury reports are an 11-year-old boy who suffered a serious eye injury from a model with sharp edges, and a 10-year-old girl in the US who swallowed one of the small parts.

Product safety officers at Consumer Protection have been in touch with a Wangara-based supplier who has voluntarily agreed to recall a fidget spinner and a Geraldton retailer who has ceased to sell the products, though it has already sold 141 units.

Consumers who have bought an LED spinner from the Under the Sun store in Geraldton should dispose of it or return it to the store for a refund.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said fidget spinners are also often purchased over the Internet, meaning parents must be wary when buying them.

“The main issues under consideration is that these fidget spinners have small parts and, more concerning in some cases, appear to contain button batteries that can in some cases easily be dislodged presenting the risk of serious injury or even death for young children if swallowed,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Consumers are reporting that the batteries come out if the item is dropped and so too do small parts that make up the units which can pose a choking hazard.

“Although the novelty items are not recommended for children under the age of three, they can easily be accessed by young children in the home.

“We are also assessing the different designs available, such as stars and blade like spinners that appear to be growing in popularity. This is to assess any laceration or puncture risks that may be present due to their specific design.”

Consumer Protection plans to work with the ACCC and other product safety regulators to ensure a consistent national approach to the devices.

Consumer Protection also offered some safety tips:

  • These products are not suitable for children under three years of age as they contain small parts that can pose a choking hazard to young children. Infants and toddlers are particularly at risk from toys with small parts that break away, because they have not yet fully developed their natural gagging reflex. Always be mindful to give children age appropriate toys.
  • Be mindful of the design of the product and steer clear of any that have sharp edges or points that may pose a laceration or puncture risk.
  • For any products that contain button batteries ensure that they have a secure battery compartment that either requires a screwdriver to open the battery compartment; are secured with a child-resistant locking mechanism; or require two independent and simultaneous movements to access.
  • Any products containing button batteries that are fully enclosed within the product should be robust enough to be dropped without breaking. Button batteries are very hazardous and can kill a child if ingested.
  • Always follow any usage instructions carefully.
  • Nothing replaces close supervision from parents and carers.

Image: Consumer Protection WA

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