Physicians and Emergency Departments See Increase in Hoverboard Accidents
Did your child receive a hoverboard as a Holiday gift? You might want to think twice about whether these transportation devices are actually safe for consumer use. According to a recent report from ABC 6 News Philadelphia, physicians indicate that they have been “swamped” with hoverboard injuries. One local Philadelphia physician described the rate of injuries as a “hoverboard epidemic.” Philadelphia is not the only city impacted by these product injuries. According to the article, “emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and specialists are reportedly overloaded with people suffering from injuries after falling off hoverboards.”
As of the end of 2015, the federal government has received reports of at least 70 injuries caused by hoverboards, but experts believe that number has since “exploded.” What kinds of injuries are happening on hoverboards? Largely, consumers are suffering serious fall-related injuries. The risk of injury is not limited to the young or the old. As one physician pointed out, he has seen patients who are children, young adults, and older adults. While hoverboards might look like a lot of fun, balancing on them is much more difficult than it might look. For adults with injuries, “most patients fell just starting out or trying to show their kids how to use the machine.”
When consumers fall off hoverboards, the injuries can be severe. Doctors in emergency departments have seen fall-related injuries that include but are not limited to:
- Neck injuries;
- Brain and head injuries;
- Ankle injuries;
- Knee injuries;
- Wrist injuries; and
- Broken bones.
While most hoverboard injuries are connected to dangerous falls, an article from ABC News reported that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also instituted hoverboard investigations related to fire-related injuries.
Staying Safe on Hoverboards
While most medical experts recommend simply staying off of a hoverboard in order to prevent a serious fall, there are some steps that consumers can take to prevent severe injuries from occurring. The ABC 6 News article emphasizes the importance of staying away from traffic—hoverboard users should not attempt to ride a hoverboard on the street or on the sidewalk. Other safety tips from ABC News include the following:
- Use safety gear: wear a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads if you are going to ride a hoverboard.
- Calibrate your hoverboard: hoverboards need to be properly calibrated to work properly.
- Stand properly on the hoverboard: this requires having the widest possible stance and the proper positioning on the device.
- Step backward to get off: many riders step forward when disembarking from a hoverboard, which can result in a dangerous fall.
- Have good posture: stand up straight while riding the hoverboard and keep your eyes in front of you.
Given the number of recent injuries from hoverboards, it is important to consider whether these devices are in fact safe for your and your children’s use.