While fidget spinners are designed to help children with learning difficulties to relieve stress, new research spotlights the potential health risk they pose for children who put them in their mouths or swallow parts. Photo by Alessandro Della Valle/EPA
FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2018 -- Fidget spinners may well keep restless hands occupied for a time. But in the wrong hands, the popular gadgets can be harmful, doctors warn.
A 3-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl suffered severe esophageal burns after they swallowed button batteries from fidget spinners, according to one new report.
Two other case reports describe esophageal injuries suffered by children who swallowed broken fidget spinner parts, but no batteries. The pieces were removed by emergency endoscopy.
Fidget spinners are touted as stress-relieving toys. But the new reports add to growing evidence about the hazards they pose, especially to toddlers and preschoolers.
The cases are described in the January/February issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
Button batteries are inside many household devices, including cameras, watches and remote controls. Batteries in children's toys are usually well-secured, but this may not be the case in devices not specifically meant for children, according to the researchers.
"Having an unlabeled button battery in a toy or product that children can handle and break poses a potential danger to children," Drs. Athos Bousvaros and Paul Rufo, of Boston Children's Hospital, wrote in a journal news release.
When batteries come into contact with body fluids, they can cause serious burns in a short time.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on button batteries.
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