ARIZONA: A woman said her 11-year-old son spent about 16 hours with a fidget spinner stuck on his finger before being freed by a hospital maintenance worker.
Cassie Rhodes of Tempe said her son, Sam, 11, quickly ran into trouble with his newest toy, a special type of fidget spinner.
The spinner, known as a Genji Shuriken, is inspired by the video game Overwatch and is designed to be worn on the user’s finger.
“I barely pushed on my finger and it just popped right on,” Sam told KPNX-TV. “I thought that maybe it would be on there for the rest of my life,” Sam said.
The boy’s mother said the usual methods of removing stuck objects from digits proved unhelpful.
“We tried soap, we tried oil, we tried looking on the Internet for tricks,” she said.
Rhodes said she took Sam to the emergency room, where a doctor attempted to use a ring cutter to remove the toy. She said the alloy metal used to make the fidget spinner proved too strong for the doctor’s tool.
“It didn’t even scratch it,” she said. “I mean, it didn’t even make a mark. They [hospital staff] said, ‘We don’t have the equipment right now at this point to help you, but we’ll find someone who does.'” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said they ended up at another hospital, Cardon Children’s Medical Center, where doctors and nurses had some experience with similar cases.
“I had a patient previously, like a month prior, who had a very similar fidget spinner stuck on his finger,” ER nurse Lizzy Ballenger said.
Ballenger said she fetched the hospital’s maintenance man instead of a doctor.
“It’s the third time I’ve been asked to cut off rings from people’s fingers,” said Greg Earhart, the hospital’s maintenance man for the past 31 years.
Children are at risk of serious injury from dangerous and poor-quality imported “fidget spinners” – the UK’s most recent toy craze – according to an investigation by BBC1 watchdog
The palm-sized spinners consist of a ball bearing that sits in a three-pronged plastic device that can be flicked and spun. Some schools in the UK and the US have banned them, though some teachers believe they can help children concentrate – especially those with ADHD.
Experts doubt therapy claims surrounding fidget spinners
The fidget spinner is a three-pronged, palm-sized piece of plastic or metal which spins around a central weighted disc. It is said to be the modern version of the old spinning top.
Children try to do various tricks with it including balancing them on top of fingers, toes or even the nose. There are fears that spinning the toy constantly, usually with the ring finger, could cause harm.
Experts say that there’s no tangible research that proves the plastic phenomena provide any real benefits as a therapeutic tool.
“I know there’s lots of similar toys, just like there’s lots of other games and products marketed toward individuals who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and there’s basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board,” Scott Kollins, a clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University told NPR.
“If their description says specifically that this can help for ADHD, they’re basically making false claims because these have not been evaluated in proper research.”
Safety concerns after injuries
Children in Texas and Oregon have been taken to hospitals recently after choking on fidget spinner pieces, W.A.T.C.H. said. One required surgery. German customs officials in June destroyed 39 tons of the hand-held whirling gizmos over safety concerns.
“Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that a toy is safe simply because it is popular,” organization President Joan Siff said.
Instruction for parents
The Toy Association in US recently issued its own guidelines for parents thinking of buying fidget spinners, including following age recommendations on the packaging, buying only from reputable retailers, and inspecting them frequently for loose parts.
“Look at it before you buy it,” the association said. “If it’s not age graded, put it down.”
Beware of substandard fidget spinner manufacturers
Several local offices in the UK have put out warnings about the toys as unscrupulous manufacturers seek to “cash in” on the craze.
In June, Surrey County Council announced that trading standards officers had seized and impounded 800 fidget spinners which were being imported from China through Heathrow airport.
The £4,000 shipment was intercepted after officers found that warnings about choking hazards were “barely visible”.
Denise Turner-Stewart, the council’s member for communities, said: “Fidget spinners have become a huge playground craze but some manufacturers seem to be attempting to cash in on soaring demand by making poor quality and potentially dangerous versions of these popular toys.”
Video: How fidget spinners can cause injuries