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Fidget Spinners Are Catching Fire, Choking Children

It's always the simplest ideas that end up being the most popular, and that's exactly the case with fidget spinners. They are a "skill toy" designed to spin in the hand and advertised as a gadget to aid with focus and relieving stress. But it turns out they can also be quite dangerous.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is issuing safety tips due to the risk they pose. More specifically, some fidget spinners form a choking hazard, while others are a fire hazard.

The spinners are especially popular with teenagers, and what teenagers find cool, younger children want to play with. However, the spinners contain small plastic and metal parts, which form a choking hazard in the wrong hands. Incidents of choking have been reported for children up to the age of 14.

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The fire risk is due to some fidget spinners using a rechargeable battery, which makes the spinner light up when in use, for example. Some even contain a speaker and use Bluetooth to transmit audio to it. The CPSC advises that these batteries are never left charging unsupervised, should be unplugged as soon as the battery is charged, and that charging cable choice is very important (if the spinner shipped with a cable, use it!). The advise even includes having working smoke alarms in your home to help avoid a fire.

If a fidget spinner is aimed at children aged 12 or younger, then it needs to adhere to US Toy Standard ASTM F963-16. So if you are out shopping for one, be sure to look for this on the packaging. As for the battery precautions, the safest option is simply to pick a fidget spinner without a battery.

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