Bluetooth Fidget Spinners Are Tech's Latest Explosion Risk

Fidget Spinner

Fidget spinners are one of the hottest fads at the moment, and they have even gone high-tech. Unfortunately, quality control seems to be woefully lacking. Not only are these toys proving to be a red-hot sales item, they are also literally hot. As in, overheating and catching fire. There have been multiple reports of these Bluetooth-enabled spinners bursting into flames while charging.

Kimberly Allums, a mother in Gardendale, Alabama, describes a harrowing incident involving her son, who had plugged in his Bluetooth fidget spinner to charge it. Later on she heard her son screaming from upstairs.

"He noticed that it burst into flames and he just started screaming," Allums told WBRC, a local news affiliate. "I was downstairs and all I heard was 'Fire! Fire!' and the fidget spinner had literally...It wasn't smoking, it was in flames."

Fidget Spinner Burnt Port
Screen Capture Source: WBRC Fox 6 News

Allums claims the fidget spinner had not even been on the charger for a full 45 minutes when it overheated and caught on fire. Luckily for her, she and her son had not yet left the house for the day, which they had planned to do. Had no one been home, there is a good chance the family would have returned to a burned down home.

"I just really want people to be aware of this because a lot of people have been inboxing me reaching out to me leaving messages saying my child has this same fidget spinner. Anytime, you have anything that needs to be charged, we really need to be paying attention to the manufactures of these, doing our research," Allums added.

Allums says she attempted to contact the company that makes these fidget spinners but could not find any identifying information on the box other than "Made in China." The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating the incident, though it is not the only one of its kind.

Over 740 miles north of where this occurred, a mother in Fenton, Michigan describes a similar incident. What is different about her story is that she bought the fidget spinner for herself as a distraction from smoking cigarettes.

"I guess as a smoker, you don't smoke as much," Michell Carr of Fenton told a local NBC news affiliate. "If they're in your hands, you're fidgeting with them, you don't smoke."

The distraction that fidget spinners provide is part of the reason why they are so popular, especially among children with ADHD. Unfortunately for Carr, her spinner proved faulty. After less than 30 minutes on the charger, it caught fire. Carr claims she used the same cord to charge the device that she uses for her baby monitor, as the fidget spinner did not come with one of its own. It also did not come with directions.

Sadly, these types of incidents are not all that uncommon. Remember when hoverboards were the popular toy not that long ago? There were also prone to overheating and catching fire. In fact, just three months ago it was a reported that a 3-year-old girl in Pennsylvania died in a house fire that was started by a charging hoverboard. While there have been other reports of fires involving hoverboards, the Pennsylvania child was the first person in the U.S. to die as a result.

Over the years we have also seen reports of exploding iPhone devices involving third-party charges. More recently, Samsung had to recall its Galaxy Note 7 handset after several complaints of the phone catching fire and causing both personal and property damage.

What can you do to mitigate the risk of something like this happening? For one, use only approved charging cords and adapters. Cheap knockoffs made in China are not built with the same safety protocols in place. And secondly, make sure you are home when charging a device. While not always convenient, it is a good idea to unplug electronic devices (including laptops) before leaving your home.

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