Schools in a spin over fidget spinner craze

Fidget spinners have sold out in many toy shops around Ireland.

A primary school in Co Wicklow has taken the step to ban fidget spinners from its grounds.

The decision was taken, not because the devices were dangerous, but because children in the school could not put them down in the classroom.

A fidget spinner, which is not just used by children but also by adults who are waiting in queues or commuting, is a two or three-pronged, palm-sized piece of plastic or metal that spins around a centrally weighted disc.

It is being described as the modern version of the old spinning top with some parents giving them to their children to keep fidgety fingers occupied.

A spokeswoman for the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) said the body was aware of the craze when asked about schools taking the step to ban them.

“We are aware that fidget spinners are currently very popular. It’s a matter for individual schools to decide if, how, and when fidget spinners are to be used in school.

“Each school has its own code of behaviour and makes decisions at a local level within the parameters of that code,” the spokeswoman said.

The devices had sold out in several toy shops in Ireland while some stores only had a limited number of colours available.

Smyths Toys told the Irish Examiner it had experienced a “phenomenal demand” for the product.

“The fidget spinners arrived in all of our stores last weekend in both Ireland and the UK and we have since seen a phenomenal demand for this product,” a spokeswoman for the toy chain said.

“Following their popularity, we are set to receive thousands more across all of our stores to facilitate this demand,” she added.

A chemical engineer living in Orlando, Florida, Catherine Hettinger, is being widely credited with having invented the fidget spinner.

However, Ms Hettinger is not involved in any of the companies that are making the popular toys.

In 1993, the engineer filed a patent covering a circular device moulded from a single piece of plastic that spins on the tip of a finger.

She called it a “spinning toy,” and the patent was granted in 1997, which then lapsed in 2005.

Aside from the spinning aspect, her device and the current one have nothing else in common.

In Britain, various schools have also taken steps to ban the products.

In Ireland, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has issued a warning over the safety of some fidget spinners.

“The CCPC has found the following issues with some fidget spinners: having no CE (European Conformity) mark, having non-compliant CE marks, not having the required small parts warning, no information provided about the manufacturer and containing parts that easily detach and pose a serious choking hazard,” read a statement by the commission.


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