Target has pulled two types of fidget spinners from its stores and website following complaints from consumer groups about lead and mercury content in them.
We posted an article earlier this year about why we choose to not carry fidget spinners in our store:
We read the same reports about lead content in them.
We read about spinners breaking apart and causing choking, even in older children.
There is no scientific evidence that they help kids with ADD.
Not Exactly a Recall, But Pulling 2 Types of Fidget Spinners
Although some articles are calling this a recall, we have been unable to verify that it is a true recall. It is not listed as such on the CPSC website and Target has not asked consumers to return fidget spinners they bought from one of their stores or online for a refund.
Target says the lead and mercury content in the spinners it has pulled meet Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines. They have removed them because of consumers’ concerns.
Both spinners are branded as Fidget Wild:
Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass
Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal
US Public Interest Research Group, a consumer group started by Ralph Nader, says the spinners have “extremely high levels of lead.” Moreover, the packaging indicates the spinners are for children ages 14 and over, but they appeared on Target’s website for children ages 6+, and as a toy.
We wanted to pass along to our customers that Kidde has voluntarily recalled millions of fire extinguishers. This can affect between 37.8 million and 40 million extinguishers. Obviously, this affects a lot of people and we have to think, many with young kids at home. It includes extinguishers that have been manufactured for at least the past 40 years in 120 different models.
We always advise people to have at least one fire extinguisher in a home. Ours isn’t a Kidde, but it easily could have been.
The affected extinguishers are made with plastic handles and have push-button releases. The nozzles might detach, making the extinguisher useless as it won’t discharge without the handle.
If all this sounds familiar, it’s because there were earlier recalls a few years ago on these models.
Contact Kidde to Let Them Know You Have Recalled Fire Extinguishers
Kidde has set up a hotline at 855-271-0773 that will operate from 8:30 AM to 5 PM (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, and 9 AM to 3 PM weekends, or visit Kidde’s recall page for more information.
You must contact Kidde; stores will not accept returns. They will issue a gift card for a new fire extinguisher.
If your fire extinguisher is on the recall list, Kidde will arrange for the local Fire Department to remove it. Don’t move it around yourself. Kidde’s FAQ page recommends leaving it where you checked it.
Fidget spinners burst on the scene this spring and we saw them everywhere–in classes, at restaurants, you name it. We figured they would start showing up in consignments our customers bring to us. But you won’t see them sold here.
Fidget Spinners and Choking Hazards
We decided early on that we won’t sell spinners. To us, they look a lot like a choking hazard, and that’s one of our biggest concerns. Sadly, it turns out that this has already happened and not to a toddler, but to an older child.
According to Good Housekeeping, a ten-year-old who was “cleaning” her spinner toy in her mouth accidentally ingested one of the ball bearings that make them spin. She was able to communicate what happened to her mother, who took her to an ER. She had emergency surgery to remove it from her esophagus.
Later, the mom posted about the episode on Facebook.
Should a ten-year-old know better? Well, kids are impulsive. Some spinners are marketed to help kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) maintain their focus, a group that’s already at-risk for injury. (There’s no evidence that they help with ADD—more on that below.)
Good Housekeeping examined several fidget spinners. They found many broke apart quite easily into pieces small enough to be classified as a choking hazard for young children.
Some Fidget Spinners Contain High Amounts of Hazardous Materials
It caught my eye when I came across a few articles that mentioned many of these fidget spinners are made in China.
Considering how quickly they flooded the market, I wasn’t surprised to read this. Then I began to wonder about lead hazards. I closely follow recalls on kids’ items and I can tell you many recalls are for Chinese-manufactured products with excessive amounts of lead. In the past, Chinese manufacturers have also exported contaminated dog food and children’s medicine.
I found news reports about high levels of lead and mercury in fidget spinners. Probably the most reliable one comes from Tamara Rubin, an environmentalist and lead abatement crusader. Rubin recently ran tests on several spinners and learned they come apart quite easily (as Good Housekeeping found) and contain high amounts of lead as well as mercury in their paint.
Worse, the ones with batteries to make them light up are powered by tiny, button batteries that can fall out if they aren’t secured with the right size screw and nut. Button batteries can be deadly if swallowed.
At AZ Kidz n More, we take extra care inspecting toys and books that run on batteries, particularly small batteries. We check to make sure they still work, aren’t leaking, and are held securely in place. If we spot a problem, we return the item to the consigner and let them know about the hazard.
No Evidence that Fidget Spinners Help Kids with ADD
As I mentioned above, some spinners are marketed for kids with ADD with claims that they can improve focus. Unfortunately, there’s no actual research to back this up. Making a claim without any evidence amounts to lying—to kids with ADD and their parents.
Scott Kollins, Ph.D., of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, told NPR that spinners are basically the latest toy that says it can help people with ADD. “There’s basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board,” he says.
Many schools have banned fidget spinners. Teachers and students complain that the whizzing sound is distracting to non-spinners, and some schools have reported that they become just another toy with hard parts kids will throw at one another.
What can parents with ADD kids do to help them? I like the ADDitude Magazine website. It discusses assistive technologies and strategies rather than cheaply-made and possibly dangerous toys.
Do you have a kid with ADD? What has been your experience with fidget spanners? Email me with your thoughts.
There have been car seat recalls in recent months.
AZKidznMore researched our files to see if we had sold any of these recalled carseats. We did not. Our policy is to reach out to customers whose contact information we have (usually, those who consign with us) if they have purchased items that were later recalled.
These recalls were voluntary measures taken by the manufacturers themselves, who are cooperating with NHTSA and child safety organizations.
To check on your car seat, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s page on car seat recalls.
Mention a car seat, and you have our attention. We are firm believers that car seats and restraints should always be used for kids who need them.
In Arizona, this includes kids who are:
Under eight years old, and
4 feet, nine inches tall or under
You can also use approved car booster seats for kids between five and seven years old and under 4’9″.
You can find information about car seat laws in different states at the website DMV.org.
What About Used Car Seats?
Many people will choose to buy a brand-new car seat and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, don’t dismiss all used car seats as unsafe, because this is not the case.
AZ Kidz n More sells used car seats but we certainly do not accept all that come through our door.
Any item brought in for consignment is checked for damage such as rips, tears, holes, cracks, stains, and defects.
We make sure all the parts are present and work properly, including straps and buckles.
We reject anything that’s dirty or smells.
As we’ve said before, if we wouldn’t use it, we wouldn’t let it go to your home (or in this case, your vehicle).
Our consigners are thoughtful people. They know we won’t accept items that don’t look gently-used or aren’t clean. They wouldn’t dream of offering us shoddy products. Many have saved instruction pamphlets and registration information with car seats, furniture, strollers, and other durable items they consign with us. These documents include information about proper installation, which can also be found on manufacturer websites.
We check the UPC code and other identification against recalls, using the USCPSC website. We do this with furniture, strollers, and toys as well.
Who Buys Used Car Seats Anyway?
Many of our customers who buy car seats are grandparents or other relatives expecting visitors who include a young child. Some parents also buy a car seat from us to have an extra one on hand for emergencies or to transport other children.
If a customer seems uncertain about buying a used car seat, we encourage him or her to buy a new one. We will never do a “hard sell” on a customer for any item in our store. We don’t want any customer to be anything less than 100% satisfied with a purchase from AZ Kidz N More.
Recently, a customer brought in an infant/toddler car seat from a top manufacturer. We rejected it because there was a part missing from the carry handle. This part has nothing to do with securing the seat, but everything to do with getting a baby in and out of the car while strapped in. Still, two customers asked about its availability before the owner came to collect it.
Make Sure Your Car Seat is Properly Installed
Regardless of where your car seat originates, you must make sure it is properly installed.
Too many people don’t understand how to install a car seat. It isn’t always easy or obvious. A 2015 study by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found almost 60% of car seats and 20% of booster seats were installed incorrectly. Obviously, incorrectly installed carseats are less effective in protecting children during crashes.
You can get professional installation, though, preferably from a CPS (Child Passenger Safety) technician who has had special training. Use this link from Safe Kids Worldwide to find one in your area. We searched for Scottsdale, AZ (where our store is located) and discovered there are CPS technicians throughout Scottsdale, including at one of the city’s fire houses, and at fire stations on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community.
And before you know it, those kids will be in line at the DMV to get a driver’s learning permit!