Following several incidents in which it became increasingly clear that toys-of-the-moment fidget spinners weren’t just exploding in popularity, but actually exploding, federal safety regulators have issued a safety alert aimed at reducing the potential for injuries and fire hazards associated with the gadgets.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission today confirmed that it is investigating a number of incidents associated with the toys, while also outlining precautions users should take before unwrapping fidget spinners.
The Evolution Of Fidget Spinners
While fidget spinners may appear to be pretty harmless, there could be dangers lurking inside, from choking hazards to the potential to explode or catch fire.
As we’ve previously reported, fidget spinners have evolved from their modest designs with mechanical parts to include internal batteries that power bluetooth speakers, lights, and other features.
These batteries, like those used in hoverboards, can be charged — although it’s unclear if the batteries are lithium-ion. And that poses a problem, because if there’s a battery inside a thing, that thing can catch fire when you least expect it.
So far this year, there have been several incidents in which chargeable fidget spinners have burst into flames while plugged in. Just last month, a family in California claimed that a fidget spinner began to smoke while charging.
To this end, the CPSC issued several tips meant to prevent such incidents, as well as reduce the chance that younger users could choke on the toys’ parts.
“Fidget spinners can be fun to use but consumers and companies should be aware of some of the safety concerns associated with this product,” CPSC acting chairman Ann Marie Buerkle said in a statement.
When it comes to fidget spinners and choking, the CPSC notes that the plastic and metal spinners have small pieces that can break, creating a choking hazard.
As a result, the agency simply recommends keeping the products away from children under three years of age.
Additionally, because the CPSC says it is aware of choking incidents involving children up to age 14, the agency recommends warning children of all ages not to put fidget spinners or the gadgets’ small pieces in their mouths.
Users should also not play with fidget spinners near their face.
While the CPSC notes that choking hazards also apply to battery-operated fidget spinners, users should be aware of fire risks, too.
“Like any battery-operated product, consumers should be present and pay attention to their devices while charging them,” Buerkle said.
Consumers who purchase these products should have working smoke alarms in their home and never charge the product overnight.
Additionally, users should always use the cable that comes with the spinner or make sure to use a cable with the correct connections. Finally, the spinner should be unplugged immediately after it is fully charged.
The CPSC urges anyone who experiences a safety issue with fidget spinners to file a report at saferproducts.gov.