Fidget spinners and smart doll pose risks for kids

SHARE Fidget spinners and smart doll pose risks for kids

Derek Eder (left), Digital Privacy Alliance; Dr. Elizabeth Powell, Emergency Room Physician; Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Nancy Cowles, Executive Director, Kids In Danger; State Representative Arthur Turner; Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG Education Fund. | Taylor Hartz/For the Sun-Times

The Illinois Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, on Tuesday released its 32nd annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, warning parents of potentially dangerous toys.

While choking hazards and toxicity remain top safety hazards, the group raised new concerns, like digital privacy, during a news conference at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

A version of the popular “fidget spinner” topped the list of potentially dangerous toys. The Fidget Wild, made by Bullseye, had high lead levels and was pulled from Target’s toy aisle Nov. 10. According to Abe Scarr of PIRG, the spinners contained 300 times the legal limit of lead for a toy.

The 10th annual “Safe Shopping Guide” issued by the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan included a list of additional risks posed by fidget spinners, including choking on pieces if a spinner comes apart. Madigan urged parents to keep them away from young children and be aware that light-up spinners may contain small batteries.

Dr. Elizabeth Powell, an emergency room physician at Lurie Children’s, said children run the highest risk of lead exposure from fidget spinners if they put the toy in their mouth, or handle it and then put their hands in their mouth.

A second popular toy, the My Friend Cayla doll, was on display Tuesday as a potential risk for cyber security. The doll includes a Bluetooth connection and microphone; it can record information including a child’s name, where they go to school, and their likes and dislike; that information is sent to a server that may not be secure.

PIRG also warned users that a danger highlighted in past years — hoverboards — are still a potential risk, because batteries in the rechargeable devices can overheat and explode. The group also urged parents to make sure small parts on toys pass a choking test, by seeing if pieces fit inside a toilet-paper tube. If they do, they may be too small for children to play with.

The attorney general’s guide details every safety recall for children’s products in the past year, including toys, clothing and furniture. The guide can be accessed online at or picked up in hard copy from Madigan’s office, 100 W. Randolph St.

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