Fidget Spinners - a deadly distraction?
When I was at school it was all about elastics and then ‘jump rope for heart’.
My older kids went through a very intense yo-yo phase (I’m still getting over it) and my younger kids are now getting very excited about the latest craze – fidget spinners.
We get it. The idea that you can buy a toy that successfully busies a distracted child sounds fantastic, particularly one who might be struggling to focus due to being on the autism spectrum or having an attention deficit disorder. But experts debate whether fidget spinners are really the panacea they claim to be.
According to clinical psychologists from both Duke University and the Child Mind Institute in New York, while they may help some people, there is no peer-reviewed studies or scientific evidence to suggest they have any therapeutic qualities.
So, while experts remain divided on the psychological benefits of the spinners – the verdict is already in on the harm of the button batteries come fidget spinners contain.
On Friday, the fidget-spinning craze went from one of distraction and derision in classrooms across the country, to a potentially deadly threat. The Ace of Hearts spinners have unsecured button batteries powering their LED lights and that is just asking for trouble, which is why the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recalled them. You can see their advice here.
Button batteries (also known as disc or coin batteries) appear harmless, but if swallowed by children, can silently kill. Each week in Australia, 20 kids present to emergency departments for a button battery related incident, and last year two young girls sadly lost their lives as a result of button batteries.
Mandatory standards for securing button batteries only cover toys for children up to three years old. Any toy designed for a child over three doesn’t need to have secured batteries. This means that if an older sibling leaves a toy around, their younger brother or sister has easy access to something that can quite literally kill them.
And it’s not just toys we have to worry about - many everyday household items, including car keys, baby thermometers and remotes contain button batteries that have no mandatory safety standards.
Fidget Spinners are just the latest example of why The Parenthood has been calling on the federal government to act and introduce mandatory safety standards covering all items containing button batteries.
If you have one of these LED spinners at home, please keep it out of reach of the kids until you can take it back to the place of purchase for a refund.
And if, like us, you think that mandatory standards for button batteries, please join our campaign at www.theparenthood.org.au/buttonbatteries
No family should have to go through the agony of the ‘what ifs’ when we could fix this problem today.