Hoverboards: The Hidden Danger

Hoverboards: The Hidden Danger

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Recently, a new trend has been sweeping the nation: Hoverboards! Also referred to as “self-balancing scooters,” these new toys allow you to “float” across the floor on two small, agile wheels connected by hard plastic and powered by a battery. The meteoric rise in popularity allowed some safety concerns to be buried and they are now beginning to surface. The biggest concern is fires. There have been multiple news stories of hoverboards catching fire and doing serious damage, even destroying homes. They are now banned by more than 60 airlines as well as various cities and universities due to safety concerns. One university close to home has taken the initiative to ban hoverboards as well. Beginning in February 2016, the University of Scranton banned hoverboards and self-balancing scooters on campus. There is clearly a major safety concern with these devices, but why?The major concern revolves around the lithium ion battery used in these products. These batteries contain very flammable chemicals. When the batteries are overheated or jostled excessively, it can cause the chemicals to catch fire. These same batteries are often used in laptops and cellphones, so why isn’t there a combustion problem with those products? One possible answer is that there is little to no safety oversight when the products are manufactured. Due to continuing concerns, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other private certification companies have begun investigating the safety of these products to try to protect consumers. The fires are not the only danger that hoverboard owners must be worried about. The falls associated with these products can cause significant bodily harm. Hospitals all across the country have reported spikes in admission of children and adults for serious falls. The CPSC is worried that the manufacturers may not be taking the size and weight of potential users into account when creating their products. There are currently no existing safety standards for these products – products which seem to be causing a lot of safety concerns.There are a few ways for consumers to prevent some of these safety concerns when using their hoverboards. Make sure that you are buying a quality product from a certified and reputable manufacturer. To avoid overheating, never charge your hoverboard overnight and never for more than the suggested charging time found in the manual (typically two hours). Allow your hoverboard to cool for one hour after charging before use. In order to prevent injuries from falls, the CPSC suggests using safety gear such as helmets, knee and elbow pads. Consumers need to become more aware of the potential risks and take the above steps to increase their own safety. Hopefully safety requirements and certifications will soon be standard issue with these devices and people will no longer have to fear these fun little gadgets.The old adage holds true: it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. This is especially true with hoverboards. A moment of joy can easily turn to tragedy where these products are concerned. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a hoverboard, you may have legal recourse. If you want to pursue legal action, you want the best lawyers on your side. Do not hesitate to call the law offices of Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. Our team of personal injury lawyers in Scranton and Wilkes Barre will fight for your rights and for the rights of those you love.