The mother is sharing her experience in hopes it will serve as a warning to other parents about the choking hazards of the latest toy craze. A fidget spinner has a stable middle and a disc with two or three paddles that can be spun, much like a ceiling fan, to relax the user.
Kelly Rose Joniec of Houston wrote in a Facebook post that she was on her way home Saturday afternoon when she heard Britton, her 10-year-old daughter, choking in the back seat. She pulled over and discovered that her daughter had swallowed one of the bearings from her fidget spinner. After trying to dislodge the small piece of metal with the Heimlich maneuver, Joniec took Britton to the nearest urgent care center.
Doctors were unable to tell where the object had gotten stuck. It wasn't until after an ambulance ride to Texas Children's Hospital that an X-ray revealed the round metal bearing in the girl's esophagus.
In the post, Joniec wrote, "Britton was taken to surgery to endoscopically locate and remove the object. Fortunately we had a positive outcome, but it was pretty scary there for a while...not only because of the initial ingestion, but then the concern about the composition and structure of the object, and finally, the risk with general anesthesia."
The Joniec family said in a statement to CNN, "our full attention and focus is on caring for our daughter and ensuring she continues to lead a healthy life." No other updates about Britton's condition were available.
Efforts to contact several fidget spinner makers for comment were not successful. Learning Express Toys, which carries the gadgets online and in over 125 stores across the country, has a warning for consumers on its website. "CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years."
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission agrees: "Anything with small parts, keep it away from young children. If it can fit through a toilet paper roll, don't give it to a young child, and make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions," spokeswoman Patty Davis advised.
Many toys come with choking hazard warnings. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially those 3 or younger. In a statement
from the Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, the academy warns that "Food, coins, and toys are the primary causes of choking-related injury and death. Certain characteristics, including shape, size, and consistency, of certain toys and foods increase their potential to cause choking among children."
Several schools have banned fidget spinners because they've become a distraction. The devices have long been a tool for teachers, guidance counselors and therapists.
"Promoting fidgeting is a common method for managing attention regulation," said Elaine Taylor-Klaus, co-founder of ImpactADHD, a coaching service for children with attention disorders and their parents.
"For some people (with ADHD), there's a need for constant stimulation," she said. "What a fidget allows some people -- not all people -- with ADHD to do is to focus their attention on what they want to focus on, because there's sort of a background motion that's occupying that need."