THE KID’S DOCTOR: Do fidget spinners help kids with ADHD?
Monday, July 3, 2017

 

Children should be reminded to play with fidget spinners using only their hands, as some toys have been known to fall apart. 
Dreamstime.com photo
 
By Sue Hubbard, M.D.
www.kidsdr.com
 
   Does your child have a fidget spinner? Thank goodness school is coming to an end just as this craze is getting crazier! Not only are some schools banning fidget spinners altogether, there have recently been concerns over choking.   
  
While fidget spinners have warnings about choking hazards, two children have been hospitalized after ingesting and choking on parts of the spinner. Both of these children required surgery to remove the piece of the spinner that they had “accidentally swallowed.” Neither of these children was under the age of 3 (the recommended age to avoid using a spinner). It seems that children of all ages put things in their mouths (fingernails, pencils, coins), and in several cases pieces of the spinner have fallen apart.  
  
I have recently noticed my patients playing with fidget spinners. And several little boys were fighting over their different colored fidget spinners just the other day, before their mom took them all away! Parents were showing me how the fidget spinners were supposed to help manage their children’s attention and focus, but they looked like a distraction to me. And I can only imagine if 20 kids in one class had them, all “fidget spinning” at once. Sounds like a few minutes of extra recess might be a better idea? 
 
  Fidget spinners have been around for some time, and were initially thought to be a “stress relieving toy,” which would help certain people focus. But, there seems to be no research into the efficacy or safety of fidget spinners to help manage the symptoms of ADHD, anxiety or any other mental health conditions, according to the director of the ADHD program at Duke University.  
 
  While these may only be a craze for the school year, they are inexpensive and easily purchased at multiple toy stores and online. Do not let children under the age of 3 play with this toy! For children ages 3 to 6, I would make sure to talk to them about choking dangers and stress that they never to put the toy in their mouths. They should also be supervised when playing.  
 
  For older children, I would again make them aware of the choking issues and even show them X-rays of the toy lodged in the esophagus. This might be another “teaching moment” to NEVER put toys into your mouth (or coins, or batteries) because accidental ingestions do occur. Remind them to play with fidget spinners using only their hands, as some toys have been known to fall apart.  
 
  I bet this craze may be short-lived with school out and summer activities provide even more diversion than a three-pronged toy that turns into a blur when twirled on your finger! I am not investing in one. 
  
Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. “The Kid’s Doctor” TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid’s Doctor e-book, “Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today’s Teen,” is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.
 
Printed in the June 25, 2017 - July 8, 2017 edition.
 

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