If you have been in the vicinity of any children between roughly ages 6 and 18 lately, you have been in the vicinity of fidget spinner toys. They are everywhere, and so when someone says, “Wow, fidget spinners are exploding” you could be forgiven for thinking they mean it figuratively. Alas, it seems that “exploding” is now true in both senses of the word.
Parents in at least two states have recently gone to local news outlets, alleging that their kids’ chargeable fidget spinners burst into flames while plugged in.
Because nothing can just be left alone, these fidget spinner models don’t just have movable parts you can mess around with, but also have internal batteries that power bluetooth speakers. Sure, why not.
But batteries are a problem. As we’ve seen with everything from hoverboards to laptops and smartphones, if there’s a battery inside a thing, that thing can catch fire when you least expect it. As at least two of these spinning, singing, song-pumping toys have now done.
A parent in Alabama told local Fox affiliate WBRC that her son’s spinner burst into flames after 45 minutes on the charger. “He noticed that it burst into flames and he just started screaming. I was downstairs and all I heard was ‘fire, fire” and the fidget spinner had literally, it was smoking, it was in flames,” she said.
A Michigan parent told local NBC affiliate WEYI a similar story, showing off the melted remnant of a spinner she said caught fire after half an hour of being plugged in.
She also told WEYI that her spinner didn’t come with a charger or safety instructions, so she just used another charger — in this case, for a baby monitor — that she happened to have in the house.
A spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission confirmed to Gizmodo that it is investigating the incidents, and also recommended that consumers never leave a product unattended while it’s charging.
“Never charge a product with batteries overnight while you are sleeping,” the Commission advised. (Yes, this means your phone too.) “Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the charger from the manufacturer that is designed specifically for your device.”
The CPSC also urged anyone who has had a safety issue with a fidget spinner — or frankly, any other device, really — to report the problem at SaferProducts.gov.