It seems like every time something becomes even remotely popular in the Western world, parents are quickly reminded to be on the lookout for cheap Chinese knockoffs, and fidget spinners haven’t bucked this ongoing trend.
Massive amounts of counterfeit fidget spinners have poured into Europe from China to satisfy the demand for these toys, but these junky spinners pose a threat to children because their small parts, most notably steel bearings and LED lights, can easily pop off, making them a serious choking hazard.
Some European governments are proactively fighting the invading tide of worthless spinners, as Ireland recently impounded 200,000 of these faulty fidget spinners, and Germany collected over 39 U.S. tons of imitation spinners that are set to be “crushed out of existence” soon, according to the Associated Press. While the threat of wonky fidget spinners sounds as goofy as the toy itself, the danger is all too real. As recently as May, a ten-year-old Houston girl nearly choked to death on one the bearings that dislodged from her pink cheapo fidget spinner.
Parents in the market for a fidget spinner for their kids should be on the lookout for indications on the packaging that the product was properly manufactured according to some sort of standard, such as a “small parts” warning, or a “CE” (European Conformity) mark, which indicates that the device has been approved to be sold in Europe and other worldwide markets, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, and Israel.
While I admit that I don’t get the appeal of these things, I clearly see the risk of giving a flimsy plastic toy containing several steel bearings to children who are still likely to stuff toys in their mouths. At least these garbage Chinese-made fidget spinners aren’t coated in lead paint, right?