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Careful, Those Fidget Spinners Can Be a Choking Hazard

Jenn is perhaps best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Breed ‘Em and Weep (2005-2012). She’s written for many magazines, newspapers and websites, including Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama, and The Boston Globe. Jenn’...

Fidget spinners aren't as harmless as they look

If you haven't heard of fidget spinners, well, clearly you've been binge-watching something for months in a dark room or backpacking in the Alaskan wilderness. These little whirly gadgets are everywhere, delighting kids and driving teachers insane. But they're also a potential choking hazard, as evidenced by the story of one Texas mom and her daughter.

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Kelly Rose Joniec's daughter, Britton, 10, began making "an odd retching noise in the backseat" on the way home from a swim meet on Saturday. Britton was rushed to the ER, then wound up having a chunk of a fidget spinner surgically removed from her throat. That's right — part of the spinner had come apart in Britton's mouth and wedged in her esophagus, also straining her windpipe's ability to take in air. Shudder.

The family was not willing to be interviewed, but Joniec's Facebook post tells the story in chilling detail:

“I saw her face turning red and drool pouring from her mouth... I attempted Heimlich but there was no resistance... [s]he'd put part of her fidget spinner in her mouth to clean it and somehow swallowed it.”

Joniec wants other parents to know that the mechanisms of the fidget spinner can come loose and endanger their kids.

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“Fortunately we had a positive outcome, but it was pretty scary there for a while,” Joniec said. “From this I wish to offer some word of caution to parents. Fidget spinners are the current craze...keep in mind that these present a potential choking hazard.”

Do these spinners come with a warning? It depends on who makes them. A spinner sold on Amazon was marketed as "suitable for kids over 10." But another had a far clearer warning: "CHOKING HAZARD — Small parts. Not for children under 3 years."

One Seattle pediatrician, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, encouraged parents to keep kids under 3 far away from the toys, and allowing kids 3 to 6 access to spinners under supervision only.

Swanson also advised parents to warn older children about the choking hazard and tell them to keep their fidget spinners far away from their mouths.

Our advice? Maybe opt your child out of the fidget spinner fad altogether. (Can we bring back yo-yos please?)

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