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Fidget spinners: toy or hazard?

Fidget spinners—those twirling gadgets that mesmerize us as we watch—were originally designed and marketed as a calming treatment for children with ADHD and autism, but they soon went mainstream and have been so popular 200,000 Instagram users have used the #spinner hashtag and videos featuring spinner tricks have earned millions of page views. Some schools have banned their use, claiming that they distract the students too much.

Fidget spinners in the news

Like many fad items and toys, they seem harmless on the surface but can cause injury under certain conditions. Fidget spinners have already been labeled a choking hazard because small pieces can fall or even fly right off during use and be swallowed by younger children. Last year, a 10-year-old girl in Texas had to be operated on to remove a part that got stuck in her throat. Another girl in Indiana choked after a metal piece flew off her spinner and lodged in her throat.

To compound the potential danger, watch groups have noted that the more cheaply made spinners have tested positive for the presence of lead.  According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, certain types of fidget spinners sold online and at Target contain toxic amounts of lead: up to 330 times the limit for children’s toys as prescribed by federal law.

There are also now electronic versions equipped with LED lights and Bluetooth speakers that play music streamed from a smartphone. They are powered by lithium-ion batteries that have been found to be unsafe. At least two have burst into flames while charging, which inspired an investigation by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Product defect cases

There are two primary types of product defect cases for goods that turn out to be dangerous.

  • Design defects: There is a flaw in the product design that makes the entire product line hazardous. An alternate design would address and eliminate the danger, but the manufacturer fails to use it.
  • Manufacturing defects: The manufacturer used cheaper materials, omitted pieces, or failed to assemble the product properly. As a result, pieces fall or fly off, potentially leading to serious injury.

When the design of a toy or device is unsafe, and the manufacturer failed to warn the public of the danger, they may be held liable for injuries and even deaths that result. Holding them accountable for such negligence is the first step toward affecting change.

If you or any of your children are injured by a poorly made fidget spinner, then contact a New York personal injury attorney who will hold the manufacturers accountable and fight for the compensation you need to cover medical costs, lost income, and other elements. Jayson Lutzky has been fighting for the rights of his clients who have been injured for over 35 years. To set up a free in-person initial consultation with Mr. Lutzky, call 718-329-9500.

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