Kayla is a wife and a mother of three. She enjoys sarcasm, lacks a certain filter, and has no problem calling things out as she sees them.
Are Fidget Spinners Deadly?
Fidget Spinner Madness!
I remember the day I bought my son his first fidget spinner. He was a mixture of confused and excited. My son is 12 years old with ASD and ADHD. We always have a box of 'fidgets' available for him at home, at school, and in the car. He needs these fidgets to keep his hands busy and they help him stay focused. The fidget spinner had been just one more tool to add to the box but soon became a staple. He would carry one everywhere. I must admit, it is the perfect tool to catch his attention.
Of course, like many things these days, the fidget spinner transformed from a tool to a fad. This fad took over the minds of everyone from pre-teens on the autism spectrum to the businessman waiting for his morning meeting. You could find people using these spinners in schools, offices, and coffee shops across the world. And of course, with popularity comes the rumors. These rumors covered every fear a typical parent would worry about, lead poisoning, arthritis, choking hazards, and death.
They wound up banned from many schools and workplaces. They had the internet bloggers working double overtime (yes, I see the irony here), and they had parents concerned. Now that the rumors are starting to slow a little I think it's about time we put a stop to them.
What is the truth?
Let's focus on the biggest and most damning rumors here.
- Can fidget spinners kill your child?
One of the biggest rumors out there is that fidget spinners contain a large amount of lead that can cause poisoning and death. This was exaggerated to the extreme. Yes, there was a very small independent study done that had proven that out of an extremely small amount of spinners tested, a couple of them had tested positive for higher amounts of lead.
This can be possible with just about any product depending on where it is manufactured. If this were a real concern the FDA would have unleashed a damning report about it already and informed consumers to stop purchasing from the offending company. If this is a worry of yours, make sure to buy from a reputable company that has quality products. There is definitely a difference in quality in a product purchase in the USA for 5$ compared to a product purchase from China for $0.02.
- Do fidget spinners affect the Earth's center of gravity?
I mean, really? Why is this even a concern! Apparently, a fake news article was circulating stating a physicist claimed that with all the people using fidget spinners in the world, with metals and magnets, it could quite possibly affect the earth's center of gravity. However, it has since been determined that even if everyone in the entire world were to join in one big fidget spinning party, it would have no effect on the Earth's center of gravity or rotation, so spin away!
Multiple reports have stated that fidget spinners can become lodged in certain areas of the body. Although I feel this should not be included in any kind of instruction or disclaimer. It is not a good idea to shove a fidget spinner into your anal cavity. It's just not smart. I mean, I don't even understand why this is even a thing. Now, I will say that all the news stories that I have read on this topic appear to be fake news and are mostly from satire websites. But I will end this section with this, if you feel that purchasing a spinner for yourself or a family member will end up in a painful removal from any parts of the body, you should probably decide against it.
- Did a child require surgery after choking on a fidget spinner?
Sadly, yes, this one is actually true. But the child didn't choke on the fidget spinner itself, but on a gear that she had removed from the spinner. The child had taken apart the fidget spinner with the intent of cleaning it. She put a gear in her mouth to clean it off (I won't even touch on that) and she swallowed the piece which ended up lodged in her esophagus. The child went on to have surgery to have it removed.
Later, the mother shared her tale on Facebook which brought a lot of negative attention to the spinners. It is true that if your child is able to take the pieces apart, and has a history of putting things in their mouths, you should probably either forgo the spinner or pay extra attention.
My son does like to take things apart and occasionally will put things in his mouth that shouldn't be there, but I always check his spinners and other smaller toys to make sure they are not coming apart. The spinner we have are very sturdy and we have never had an issue with this.
Quite frankly, this could have happened with just about anything. The child knowingly took it apart with the intent to clean it, she obviously didn't plan on swallowing it and it was just an unfortunate accident that is no fault of the spinner itself. The same could have happened from a small rock found on the ground or a gumball.
Who should use fidget spinners?
This is a loaded question. They were originally designed as a therapeutic device for children with ADHD. It works to help keep the hands busy and guide focus. My son started using spinners and cubes before they were a 'thing'. Once it turned into a fad, it started getting banned from classrooms and some schools don't allow them on school property at all. This is hurting the children that need them to focus.
I have a neurotypical child who also decided she enjoyed using the fidget spinner and when she brought it to her classroom, everyone was intrigued with it including her teacher. We even sent in a fidget spinner for him to use because he would always walk over to my daughter's desk and borrow hers during class lectures. It was always a funny thing when he would pick it up and use it. And she was happy to let him because the moment she walked into the classroom with the spinner in her hand her school career became much easier.
She always had a hard time talking in front of the class, or in front of anyone really. She was always so shy, but the spinner lets her focus on her hands and her words rather than everyone looking at her. So now I know personally that it is not only for children with ASD or ADHD. It is for anyone who can benefit from focusing their attention.
If a child, or anyone for that matter, can produce better work, attention, or attitude because of having a spinner in their hands, it is doing its job and should not be refused. However, there are also many people who use it for the fad that it has become. By simply saying, " I need this", the school counselor can give them an extra 6 hours of class time to practice their fidget tricks. These are the people who have turned this item from a tool to a toy, and the reason it is being banned from classrooms. But is it so important to stop a few children from playing in the classroom that we will refuse this item from the children who need it?
Mamerto Adan from Cabuyao on July 03, 2017:
I remembered that exaggerated news about a fidget spinner exploding. Wow the people nowadays!
Plahs on June 30, 2017:
This makes a lot of great points. Schools should not allow fads to get in the way of childrens needs.
Deborah Nessmith from Florida on June 22, 2017:
Great article. I don't let my son with ADHD and social communication disorder use the fidget spinners personally, although he could benefit from it. I understand their purpose and in any other circumstance would have, but with YouTube stars making them into anything but tools for those with neuro-development problems, I have decided to find other alternatives for him. Why get him started using it, when he won't be able to use it in school, where he may greatly benefit from its use.
I believe people have the right use any object whether for their own personal development issues or otherwise, but I feel that by using them just because ruins it for those who genuinely need them. It's funny I came across this post, because today in the middle of Walmart, I got in my high horse about everyone using these for things other than their intended use. It bugs me that typically developing individuals have turned these into a fad, making things harder on those who really need them.
Great article with lots of detail, and I appreciate someone putting it out there what they are really for.
Michael Valdez from bedminster, bristol on June 22, 2017:
Interesting article, I never heard of fidget spinners until I read this. I also never heard of neuro-typical, I need to get out of my cave. I find entertaining parts in reading this article, its informative, and honest especially the disclosure of the earnings through amazon. Sorry I couldn't be nitpicky. I cannot say much about the slant solely because you have an ADHD child, so it comes with the territory. I did enjoy reading it though, anyhow take care.