Two-wheeled “hoverboards” were the hottest gift of the holiday season last year, but many parents across the country were left feeling burned after shocking reports of this gadget erupting into flames in people’s homes. Despite the safety risks associated with the lower-end models — which have been swept with mass-recalls — the hoverboard is still a must-have toy of summer 2016.
The reason why hoverboards have been catching fire is their lithium-ion batteries. Although these batteries are safely used in laptops and cellphones, highly-flammable lithium-ion batteries are dangerous in larger gadgets that are bumped around and prone to overheating, like a hoverboard. These devices are so volatile that hoverboards have even been banned from airplanes.
For parents who have already purchased a hoverboard for their child and are concerned for their safety, here are some signs that your child’s hoverboard may be unsafe and should be taken away:
The Hoverboard is Damaged
All toys get scuffed up over time, but parents should be concerned if their children are riding a hoverboard that has been dropped or dinged up, as the lithium-ion battery may be on the edge of exploding. Never allow your child to jump on the hoverboard, do tricks on it, or bump into walls with it. If the hoverboard appears to be damaged — especially around the foot pedals, which is where the battery is usually located — be sure to remove the hoverboard from your home.
You Charge Your Hoverboard Unsupervised for Hours
The holiday season was full of tragic stories of families losing their home to fire after their child’s new hoverboard was left to charge overnight or unsupervised. Consumers are accustomed to charging their laptops and phones overnight, as they have built-in safety features, but this should never be done with a hoverboard.
Be sure to only charge your hoverboard for a few hours at a time, under full supervision. After the hoverboard is charged, do not let your child use it until it has cooled down for an hour, to prevent overheating and potential combustion. If you have charged your hoverboard overnight in the past, the battery is likely damaged, and you should stop using the hoverboard right away.
The Hoverboard is on a Recall List
Most parents are aware of the first hoverboards that were recalled around the holiday, but they may not realize that the recall list has expanded since the winter to include hoverboards previously trusted by consumers.
If you have recently purchased a hoverboard from any of these these manufacturers or retailers, be sure to confiscate it immediately from your child. You can receive a full refund or replacement, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Digital Gadgets LLC
- Hoverboard LLC
- Hype Wireless
- Keenford Ltd.
- Swagway LLC
You Didn’t Purchase It Directly From the Manufacturer
There are counterfeit units out there that haven’t been properly inspected, or made in factories that are properly inspected. These counterfeits come from unregulated factories that do not adhere to safety standards and use cheaper lithium-ion batteries, making these already volatile devices even riskier.
Savvy sale-hunting parents may unwittingly purchase a knockoff hoverboard thinking they have found a great deal, but the savings are not worth the safety risk. If you did not purchase your hoverboard directly from the manufacturer, you should immediately cease using it.
It’s Not Certified
The lithium-ion batteries used in hoverboards are less-than-ideal, but parents can find some security in hoverboards with battery packs certified by Underwriters Laboratories. A UL certification emblem shows that the hoverboard was inspected and tested by an independent factory for safety.
If you have purchased a hoverboard that does not have a UL emblem for safety, it is very likely that your hoverboard has a dangerous and uninspected battery pack, and should be disposed. However, even a UL emblem is not a sure sign of safety, as many counterfeit companies will fake a UL emblem to deceive consumers. This is why it is essential to purchase gadgets from reputable retailers and manufacturers that never stock knockoffs.
Have you or someone you loved been harmed by a dangerous hoverboard? If so, Morgan & Morgan may be able to help. Read more to learn about how our product liability attorneys can help to hold the manufacturers of these risky devices responsible for their actions.