Facts: A hoverboard is a hands-free, motorized scooter that has two wheels attached to a small platform. It was the hottest and hardest-to-get gift for the 2015 holiday season. Fractures, sprains, strains, lacerations, contusions, and head/brain injuries from the device overwhelmed doctors and emergency rooms during and after the holiday season. Although certain components of hoverboards may be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certified, there are currently no certified hoverboards. There is a high preponderance of fires associated with hoverboards. Many cities like New York have banned hoverboards and have enacted stiff penalties or fines if caught using the device. Even cities that have not banned them outright have enacted laws about the use requirements of the device. Several airlines have banned travelling with a hoverboard due to the large lithium-ion batteries that can pose a fire danger. Several colleges and universities have either banned hoverboards outright or put out restrictions regarding the device. Product Issues: Small hoverboard wheels do not work well on uneven surfaces which can cause falls and injuries. Different weights for different users can cause the device to speed up or lurch unexpectedly and cause injury from a fall. The Lithium-ion batteries that it runs on could overheat or short-circuit leading it to catch on fire and cause injury. Also, these batteries are more prone to catch fire when bumped around a lot. Suggested Safety Recommendations: For falling injuries:
Wrist guards, elbow and knee pads and a well-fitting certified helmet should be worn when using a hoverboard.
Have a spotter to catch or brace you should you fall while using the device.
Do not use a hoverboard on or near a road or street.
First time users should start indoors in a padded environment until comfortable in the devices use. Also, learn how to get on and off the hoverboard safely.
Know your abilities and take it slow when using.
Do not use a cellphone or text when using the device.
For fire issues:
Only purchase hoverboards from a retailer that you know and trust.
When in use, keep all impacts to a minimum to avoid damaging the battery.
Don’t bump into hard surfaces and avoid dropping the hoverboard.
Let the device rest for an hour after use before charging it.
Only charge in an open area and away from items that are flammable.
Never charge the device overnight or even longer than the owner’s manual recommends.
Don’t leave the hoverboard unattended while charging.
Unplug the charger from both the wall and the device immediately after charging.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary such as heat, or odors coming from the hoverboard, stop using it immediately, let it cool down and contact the manufacturer or retailer from where it was purchased.
If you notice smoke, sparking or leaking stop using the device immediately and call 911.