THE ROBINSON REPORT #12: Special Warning – Hovering for Safety?

As many of you have read and heard, there have been numerous reports about a new product category of motorized skateboards, often referred to as “hover boards” spontaneously catching on fire. As of now, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is aware of at least twelve incidents in ten states of these products bursting into flames. The CPSC has been actively engaged in this issue from the time we learned of the first incident and our staff is investigating exactly how these incidents have occurred.

I am not allowed by statute to use a specific brand name at this time, but this is what I know and what you as consumers should be aware of: fire incidents have occurred in a number of brands and models of this product being sold in a wide range of prices. At this time, we believe that the fires were related to the battery packs and occurred when the boards were being used or while they were plugged in to recharge. As a Commissioner of the CPSC, I want to make sure that you are aware of the fire incidents involving these products, and to consider this when making your gift-purchasing decisions for your loved ones this holiday season.

In addition to the fire incidents, there have been many videos and reports of people injuring themselves while trying to ride these products. To date, we know of 29 emergency room visits related to these products. Thirteen of the reported incidents were for fractures, six were for strains or sprains, four were for contusions or abrasions, two for lacerations, one for a closed head injury and three for an injury to an ankle, wrist or shoulder. If you decide to purchase or use these products, be aware that they are not for small children. Also, please be careful and abide by all warnings and please follow these safety tips:

  • Do not charge “hover boards” overnight, or when they are unattended.
  • Do not put a fully charged “hover board” under your tree (and of course, make sure your tree is not dry, as this is a safety hazard).
  • Wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads when using one.

Please report any incident, whether it’s a fire or fall, to www.saferproducts.gov. The CPSC is committed to determining what, if any, safety hazards are related to these products and what other warnings or additional steps need to be taken to keep consumers safe.

As always, wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday!

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