Fidget Spinners: Don't Get Injured by This Latest Craze
May 18, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, during a family visit to an aquarium, a gift shop display caught my eye. Tucked among the racks of plastic fish and shark magnets was a stack of small colorful propeller-like things. My son picked one up, held the center between his thumb and index finger and set it spinning with a quick flick of his wrist.
I was fascinated.
Until that moment, I had been oblivious to the latest childhood fad: fidget spinners. And as an expert fidgeter myself, I quickly wondered where this thing had been my whole life. I marveled at the three blades, each holding a circular case of precision bearings, which not only reminded me of my roller-skating days, but also gave the gadget a satisfying weight and balance.
Of course, my children (and wife) were incredulous that I had not heard of the fidget spinner. Didn’t I know every kid in America wanted one? Or that every teacher in America loathed the spinners disrupting their class?
I had every intention of joining the growing population of fidget spinner owners, but my kids (and wife) vetoed the motion. I went home with a shark magnet instead, but Father’s Day is around the corner… and a guy can always hope.
Since that day, I’ve seen fidget spinners everywhere—at the mall, in restaurants, our neighborhood park, even the emergency room, where a kid showed me how to balance the spinner on the tip of her nose (I was jealous).
Apparently, a ten-year-old girl was riding in the back seat of the family car, cleaning her fidget spinner with her tongue, when one of the bearing cases dislodged and fell in her mouth. She began choking. Fortunately, her mother took quick action, pulling the car over, grabbing her daughter and performing the Heimlich maneuver. The girl was rescued from choking, but she ended up swallowing the bearing case, which became lodged in her upper esophagus and required emergency surgery for removal.
Of course, toys with small parts (including nickel-sized parts in this case) should be kept away from young children. But even older kids can have a brush with death if they aren’t careful.
Emergency Medicine, Physician Team; Interactive Media, Medical Director; Host of PediaCast
Dr Mike Patrick is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Medical Director of Interactive Media for Nationwide Children's Hospital. Since 2006, he has hosted the award-winning PediaCast, a pediatric podcast for parents. Millions of listeners in all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries have tuned-in to this weekly podcast for pediatric news, answers to listener questions and interviews with pediatric and parenting experts. Dr Mike also produces a national podcast for healthcare providers—PediaCast CME, which explores general pediatric and faculty development topics and offers free AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to listeners.
In addition to podcasting, Dr Mike serves as a Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and with the Executive Committee of the AAP’s Council on Communications and Media. He frequently shares evidence-based recommendations with television, newspaper and radio audiences, including a weekly health segment on local CBS affiliate 10TV. He is a featured author of the 700 Children's Blog and has contributed to several print publications, including Parents Magazine and Working Mother Magazine.
Dr Mike also developed and directs an academic healthcare communications and social media curriculum for residents and medical students at Ohio State. This elective experience equips learners with the practical skills needed to promote health literacy and child advocacy in the digital space. Prior to his involvement with communications and media, Dr Mike spent 10 years as a general pediatrician in an underserved area. He currently practices with the Section of Emergency Medicine at Nationwide Children's in Columbus.
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