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article imageFire and choking warnings over fidget spinner

By Tim Sandle     Aug 11, 2017 in Technology
Fidget spinners may be popular with adults and children but there are risks, such as from fire when the devices are charged over night. A choking warning has also been issued. What lessons does this present for tech developers?
It's great to have a new idea for some technology and then watch it go for a spin, as was the case with fidget spinners. As part of the design process it's important to make sure that all of the safety elements have been considered, and this extends to understanding how consumers will end up using the product. Fidget spinners provide a salutary lesson for start-ups considering the next "big invention."
Gadgets like fidget cubes and spinners are increasingly popular in homes and schools. One application of the toys is to help people with anxiety, autism or ADHD focus better, as Digital Journal examined in an article earlier this year. The devices are also popular as simple toys or distraction toys for office workers.
With the risk of fire associated with fidget spinners, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is a government body, is advising consumers to avoid charging the toys, some of which are Bluetooth-enabled, overnight. A recent incident saw a Bluetooth-enabled fidget spinner that played music burst into flames after being left to charge for 45 minutes in a family home in Alabama.
In addition there has been a warning to parents to guard against younger children from putting the spinners into their mouths. Quoted by the BBC, CPSC's acting chairwoman Ann Marie Buerkle said: "Keep them from small children. The plastic and metal spinners can break and release small pieces that can be a choking hazard, and older children should not put fidget spinners in their mouths."
The U.S. governmental organization wants fidget spinners to have to conform to the U.S. Toy Standard ASTM F963-16.
More about fidget spinners, Games, Safety, Adhd
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