Fidget Spinners: Safe or Not?

Image: child with fidget spinner
Flickr: Iksquaredphoto

Every year seems to bring a new toy trend. The Elsa Doll was a hit in 2014 – thanks to the Disney movie: Frozen. The BB-8 Star Wars Toy was based off of the Star Wars film and was in high demand in 2015. Combine an egg and a bird and you get Hatchimals, an animal that repeats everything you do, which sold fast during the 2016 holiday season. 

In 2017: the fidget spinners—a usually three-pronged device with a center pad that children like to spin into the air. They're used for stress relief in some cases, but these toys have taken over the children’s toy market. Before you buy one for a kid in your life, take note of the serious health precaution associated with fidget spinners.

Lead poisoning activist Tamara Rubin released a series of videos showing that fidget spinners could contain unusual amounts of lead.   

Lead is an odorless, invisible, at-first symptom-less danger to children which could later result in developmental delays and other serious results. The material can be found in paint on imported toys and older American toys before lead was banned in 1978.  It can also be found on plastics, which have no lead ban in the United States. Other countries do not always crack down on lead paint and plastic violations as heavily as in the United States, so consumers should be especially careful when buying imported toys.  

If you suspect your children have been in contact with lead, only a blood test can truly say if they have had exposure. No commercial tests have been verified as completely trustworthy, so it is best to take away the toy you suspect of having lead in it, and talk to your pediatrician. The best way to avoid serious lead poisoning is to get your child annually tested for lead in their blood. 

To safely ensure that your child's fidget spinner does not contain lead, shop wisely. If you purchase one online, read reviews, do your research on the company selling it, and read the description of the product to make sure it says the spinner is "lead free." Additionally, buy from sellers that you trust, as the fidget spinner trend has resulted in the sale of many replications of the product, some of which may not comply with safety standards.

Here are some of the best fidget spinners options we found: 

  1. Addictive Fidget Spinners: This website has multiple types of fidget spinners, and has separate listings for plastic vs. metallic.  
  2. Thingiverse: If you have access to a 3D printer, using these downloadable files to 3D print a hand spinner is a great alternative to buying a spinner with harmful chemicals. 
  3. Get ready to bake your spinner: Do you want a spinner that's guaranteed safe? Make your own edible version, with this delicious recipe!