Fidget spinners are an enormously popular toy and in the hands of children almost everywhere. It is reported that the plastic and metal spinners can fall apart, creating a choking hazard; meanwhile, some spinners come with LED lights and have small batteries, which, if swallowed, can cause significant damage.
The Pediatric Division here at GI Associates received news through our network of Pediatric Gastroenterologists that batteries, in particular, may pose a unique danger. A verified report that a four-year-old girl swallowed a fidget spinner plastic disc containing LED lights and a small central button battery. The battery lodged in her esophagus and caused severe damage that was inconsistent with the size of the battery—meaning that the battery size was small and encased in plastic and should not have caused the type of injury that was observed. In addition, this particular battery was contained in a metal casing inside the outer plastic covering. This caused a type of shielding in the scans that would have caused a doctor to not classify removal as an emergency. In the case being cited, the battery was in the girl’s esophagus about three hours and she was in the hospital for five days before she could tolerate swallowing food.
We are not in the business of scaring parents, but we are in the business of protecting your child’s digestive health. We feel that this incident is severe enough to warrant a word of warning. Monitor your young children while they are playing with fidget spinners, make sure that the manufacturer's suggested ages are within the correct range for your child, and always check to make sure that the toy is intact when your child is finished. If you see your child swallow a fidget spinner battery, or any small battery, seek medical attention immediately.
The video below shows how to safely change a fidget spinner battery. Because the parts are so small, we reccommend only an adult completes this task.