1 Sept 2017
CPSC Issues Business Guidance on Fidget Spinners
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a guidance document aimed at helping businesses ensure that fidget spinners sold in the United States comply with all relevant safety requirements. The guidance was issued in light of some reports of fires involving battery-operated fidget spinners that the agency is currently investigating.
Fidget spinners generally consist of two main pieces: a centre piece containing a small ball-bearing component and an outer piece. The outer piece generally has multiple lobes weighted with items such as small ball-bearing components, solid weights or balls. Fidget spinners can be made of a variety of materials, including plastic, brass, stainless steel, titanium and copper. The user holds the centre piece between the forefinger and thumb and rotates the outer piece to cause it to “spin.” The lobes of the fidget spinners are equally weighted to allow the user to balance the product.
The CPSC notes that most fidget spinners are general use products unless they are primarily intended for children 12 years of age or younger. The agency considers the following factors when determining whether an item is a children’s product: marketing materials, whether the product and packaging designs are primarily intended to appeal to a child 12 years of age and younger, and the product’s age grading.
If the fidget spinner is a general use product there are no mandatory CPSC requirements for it and no certification is needed. However, manufacturers and retailers of fidget spinners that include rechargeable battery-operated components should ensure that the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are used within their proper operating specifications for voltage, current and temperature. Rechargeable fidget spinners that do not have proper battery management systems may cause a risk of overheating and fire. The CPSC recommends that all battery-operated fidget spinners, both general use products and children’s products, comply with the battery requirements in the U.S. toy standard (ASTM F963-16, Section 4.25 Battery-Operated Toys).
If the fidget spinner is a children’s product, it must comply with the applicable requirements for total lead content, lead in paint and phthalate limits, as well as the provisions of ASTM F963-16. In addition, the product and its packaging would have to bear permanent tracking information. Children’s products must be tested by a CPSC-accepted laboratory for compliance with all relevant safety requirements. Moreover, manufacturers and importers must certify in a Children’s Product Certificate that the product complies with these requirements. While the certificate does not need to be submitted to the CPSC, it must accompany any shipments and must be produced to CBP or the CPSC upon request.