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Fidget spinners: Purported benefits, adverse effects and accepted alternatives

Schecter, Rachel A.a; Shah, Jayb; Fruitman, Katec; Milanaik, Ruth Lynnc

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000523
OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review In the span of a few months, fidget spinners have caught the eyes of millions of children, parents, educators and paediatricians. Fidget spinners, hand-held toys designed to spin freely in your grasp, have become a source of entertainment for consumers of all ages. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, toy marketers have advertised the benefits of fidget spinners for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other disorders (e.g. autism, anxiety, sensory issues). Parents are incentivized by these purported benefits to purchase fidget spinners to improve their child's concentration and decrease stress.

Recent findings While fidget spinners are a new phenomenon, existing therapy toys (e.g. sensory putty) have been used by occupational therapists for similar reasons, with comparably little research supporting these claims. The purpose of this review is to explore literature regarding sensory toys and examine educator/professional-reported concerns and medical adverse effects of using fidget spinners.

Summary Due to a recent surge in popularity, fidget spinners and other self-regulatory occupational therapy toys have yet to be subjected to rigorous scientific research. Thus, their alleged benefits remain scientifically unfounded. Paediatricians should be aware of potential choking hazards with this new fad, and inform parents that peer-reviewed studies do not support the beneficial claims.

aWashington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

bUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

cDevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, Lake Success, New York, USA

Correspondence to Ruth Lynn Milanaik, DO, 1983 Marcus Avenue, Suite 130, Lake Success, NY 11042, USA. Tel: +1 516 802 6100; e-mail:

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