What You Need To Know About Hoverboards
The futuristic hoverboard trend hit fast and furious becoming a form of transportation for many kids (and adults) wanting to look cool, effortlessly zipping down streets and sidewalks. Although these hoverboards sound like they may “hover,” they don’t, they are in fact electric self-balancing scooters, much like a small Segway without the handlebars. Despite the “cool factor,” this trendy new fad has a hazardous side. The news has been peppered with reports of hoverboard hazards and defects, leading to destructive explosions and fires. Some cities have already banned them from their roads and many airlines won’t let you bring them onto planes. Even retailers such as Amazon have stopped sales of some models and have offered full refunds.
Hoverboard Batteries, Explosions and Fires
Hoverboards sold like hotcakes this holiday but by January, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were already dozens of incidents in the United States where the lithium-ion batteries in these hoverboards allegedly caught fire damaging people’s homes and in some cases burning the house to ground. According to the CPSC at least 52 hoverboard fires have been reported, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage.
These hoverboard explosions and fires started in many different ways — while charging, riding or even resting in place. Reports have come in from other parts of the world regarding exploding electric hoverboards.
According to CNET, the science behind hoverboard fires is simple and the lithium-ion batteries used can be highly volatile. Due to the fire risks from faulty electrical circuitry and lithium-ion batteries found in some hoverboards, unsafe hoverboards have been banned. Hoverboard recalls have begun in other countries like Australia, but at the moment the CPSC has issued a consumer warning only in the U.S., not a recall as they continue their investigation. They are however working with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to develop standards for hoverboards to address the hazards. UL has developed initial requirements for mitigating these hazards and is ready to support retailers and manufacturers in testing hoverboards for electrical and fire safety.
CPSC Warning and Hoverboard Accident Injuries
In February, the CPSC officially warned that hoverboards are unsafe, and threatened to recall or block imports of hoverboards failing to meet safety standards. It’s not only fire hazards but people have been falling off these self-balancing scooters, getting injured and landing themselves in the hospital. Hoverboard falls spiked over the holidays and emergency rooms experienced a rapid increase in visits due to falls and collisions caused by these electric self-balancing scooters.
Hoverboard Defects and Consumer Safety Tips
What can consumers do to stay safe? You can stop using your hoverboards and read these other safety measures from Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Consumers who already own a non-UL-certified hoverboard should heed warnings when charging the battery and get a fire extinguisher. If concerned about your safety or the safety of your child, per the CPSC, you should contact the manufacturer and demand a refund. If injury does result from one of these self-balancing hoverboards, get help immediately and consider contacting a personal injury attorney experienced in defective products and products liability.