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Popular Toy Burns Children

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Fidget spinners cause mouth and esophageal burns

Here's a warning to parents about a popular toy that recently led to internal burn injuries in very young children.


According to the 2018 January/February issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (JPGN), small toys with button batteries pose a serious health risk to children when placed in the mouth or ingested. This comes in light of recent case reports of children accidently swallowing the button batteries used to power some models of Fidget spinners, which led to serious esophageal burns.

It's a popular impulse-bought toy in supermarket checkout line racks--those colorful and mildly amusing spinners that mesmerize children and adults alike with its seemingly unending ability to spin on and on and…. However, that simple toy has progressed in design to include tiny button batteries to power LEDs to add flash...and potential fatalities...should the battery fall into little hands with open mouths.

And that's just what happened according to recent reports of two children--a three-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl--who received severe esophageal injuries caused by swallowing the lithium batteries used to power Fidget spinners. As it turns out, when button batteries come in contact with bodily fluids like saliva and moist tissue in the mouth and esophagus, severe burns can develop very quickly and burn through the delicate tissues to the point of entering deeper internally and causing life-threatening injury requiring emergency surgery.

Furthermore, even if a Fidget does not contain a button battery, earlier reports have identified incidences in which children have become injured from broken fidget spinner parts when handled by children too young to safely handle the toy.

Are the Fidget Spinners Near Me and My Kids Dangerous?

Fidget Safety Tips

To help make parents aware of the risks and hazards of Figet spinners, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued these safety tips:

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Fidget spinners and children:

--Keep fidget spinners away from children under 3 years of age.
--The plastic and metal spinners have small pieces that can be a choking hazard. Choking incidents involving children up to age 14 have been reported.
--"Light up" fidget spinners may come with button or lithium coin cell batteries. These batteries are an ingestion risk for children and the larger lithium coin cells can lead to severe burns in the esophagus.
--Warn children of all ages not to put fidget spinners or small pieces in their mouths and not to play with the fidget spinner near their faces.

Rechargeable battery-operated fidget spinners:

--Be present when products with batteries are charging.
--Never charge a product with batteries overnight while you are sleeping.
--Unplug your fidget spinner immediately once it is fully charged. If there is no indicator showing a full charge, unplug after one hour.
--Always use the cable that came with the fidget spinner.
--If the fidget spinner did not come with a cable, make sure the cable you use is undamaged and has the correct connections for charging.
--Have working smoke alarms in your house to protect you if there is a fire.

For more about toy safety, here is an informative warning about toys that can silently blind a child without warning.


Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Jan. 24, 2018 "Button Battery Powered Fidget Spinners: A Potentially Deadly New Ingestion Hazard for Children" Khalaf, Racha T. et al. Published Ahead-of-Print.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission: Fidget Spinner Safety Information

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