Publication Date Tuesday, June 13, 2017
ServicesAdvisory and Education Audits and Inspections Certification Marks Testing Validation and Verification
H: What are they?
Fidget Spinner toys are the new craze that has consumers searching high and low. Retailers need manufacturers that can keep up with demand, while manufacturers are searching for the ball-bearing component suppliers that give life to the endless spinning action.
H: Are they safe?
As an item marketed to children for play, they are regarded as a “toy” and in the U.S., must comply with the federally mandated toy safety standard ASTM F963-16. International safety standards, such as Canada’s SOR/2011–17, EN71 and ISO 8124, are also applicable based on the market(s) of distribution.
H: What are the risks?
Because of its small design and corresponding parts, these spinners can pose a choking hazard to children. Not to mention the level of distraction for a child and those around him or her, many schools have even taken the precaution of banning them from their classrooms.
- Girl chokes on spinner while cleaning with her mouth: http://www.businessinsider.com/fidget-spinners-choking-hazard-2017–5
- CT bans fidget spinners: http://www.middletownpress.com/article/MI/20170518/NEWS/170519627
- Two children hospitalized for choking on fidget spinner pieces: http://abcnews.go.com/US/cpsc-warns-parents-fidget-spinners-young-children-swallowing/story?id=47657409
In addition to those safety risks, every spinner can also vastly vary in quality and performance. With the design containing a possibility of multiple types of ball bearings (all-metal, hybrid-ceramic or all-ceramic), the spinners have enough weight that may cause them to break if dropped when inferior materials are used. When created with poor-quality materials, those accidents can create the potential of releasing small parts and/or creating sharp pieces, and therefore presenting an additional safety hazard to children. Also, depending on the ball bearing used, spinners of low quality are prone to rust when exposed to moisture which can impact the spinning performance.
The spinners originally sold in the market have evolved to include design features with batteries and LEDs. Batteries are a known safety hazard if accidently ingested and hence the robustness of the design, manufacturing processes and quality controls are critical.
- Unsecured button battery compartment: https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/fidget-spinner-recall-risk-of-serious-injury-or-de/3184376/
H: How UL helps consumers
The toy industry is highly regulated to protect the safety and health of young consumers. With unmatched toy safety expertise, UL’s team of quality assurance experts is uniquely positioned to support the toy manufacturing industry’s drive to bring safer products to the world market. In addition, the UL Toy Safety Certification Mark is also used to quickly signify to consumers that each product bearing the mark is of the highest quality and safety for its youngest consumers.
UL can help retailers and manufacturers mitigate the risks associated with global sourcing to protect brand reputation and build consumer loyalty. To learn more, visit us at UL.com.