Falling Hard for a Hot Item: Hoverboard Safety Concerns & User Tips

Back in the 2000s, the Razor Scooter was a hot new Christmas item.[1]  This trend was followed by the Segway.[2]  Christmas of 2015 was the season of the hoverboard,[3]  but this Christmas season was not followed by just fun and games.  Besides the various compilation videos of people falling off of hoverboards and suffering from bumps, bruises, and embarrassment, many people have been more seriously injured. Others have watched as their new toy burned before their eyes.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is still investigating the issue of hoverboards catching on fire, and cautions users not only about the possibility of battery fire, but also the danger of falling citing “concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions, and internal organ injuries as possible dangers.”[4]  National Public Radio (NPR) reports the fires are likely the cause of faulty lithium-ion batteries of poor quality.[5]

When buying a hoverboard, the CPSC recommends the following guidelines:

  1. Avoid buying the product at a location or website that does not have information about the seller or how to contact them in case something goes wrong.
  2. Do not charge the hoverboard overnight.
  3. Do not charge the hoverboard when you are unable to observe it.
  4. Charge and store in an open dry area away from things that can catch fire.
  5. Do not charge the hoverboard directly after riding.  Let the device cool for at least an hour.[6]

Follow these five practices to prevent falling off your hoverboard, and stay safe while still aboard:

  1. Wear a helmet. Elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards are also recommended.
  2. Follow the directions to calibrate your hoverboard.
  3. Step on the hoverboard in the middle with a wide a stance that you are comfortable holding.
  4. Step backwards when getting off the hoverboard.
  5. Look ahead, not down, to keep your posture straight and maintain control of the board.[7]

During the time the CPSC is investigating the safety of hoverboards, the Commission urges users to report any and all incidents to them.  You can do so by clicking here. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to local regulations and laws.  Hoverboards are not allowed on airlines.[8]  Some stores and business prohibit hoverboards, and other states are passing laws to regulate their use.[9]

Allen & Allen is currently investigating cases on behalf of owners of self-balancing scooters, more commonly known as “hoverboards.” If you or a family member has been injured while using a hoverboard, contact the attorneys at Allen & Allen online or by calling 1-866-388-1307.

About The Author: Danielle Bringard is a personal injury attorney practicing with the law firm of Allen & Allen at their office in Fredericksburg. Her practice is focused in the areas of car accidents, product liability, premises liability, and distracted driving accidents.

[1] See The Sports Archives, The History of the Scooter!, Sports Archive Blog (Nov. 5, 2013), http://thesportsarchivesblog.com/2013/11/05/the-sports-archives-the-history-of-the-scooter/.

[2] See Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, From Hype to Disaster: Seway’s Timeline, WSJ Blog (Sept. 27, 2010, 1:15 PM), http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/09/27/from-hype-to-disaster-segways-timeline/.

[3] See Jefferson Graham, Hoverboard is the Hottest, Hardest-to-Get Gift for Holidays, USA Today (Nov. 23, 2015, 6:52 PM), http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/11/23/hoverboard—hottest-hard–get-gift-holidays/76251388/.

[4] CPSC, Statement from the U.S. CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye on the Safety of Hoverboards, CPCS (Dec. 16, 2015), http://www.cpsc.gov/en/About-CPSC/Chairman/Kaye-Biography/Chairman-Kayes-Statements/Statements/Statement-from-the-US-CPSC-Chairman-Elliot-F-Kaye-on-the-safety-of-hoverboards/ (“hereinafter CPSC Statement”).

[5] Why are ‘Hoverboards’ Literally Catching Fire?, NPR (Dec. 28, 2015, 2:54 PM), http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/12/19/460354043/why-are-hoverboards-literally-catching-on-fire.

[6] See CPSC Statement.

[7] See Katie Kindelan, Hoverboard Safety: Expert Tips on How to Glide Without Injury, ABC NEWS (Dec. 28, 2015, 12:26 PM), http://abcnews.go.com/US/hoverboard-safety-expert-tips-glide-injury/story?id=35975597.

[8] See Chris Morris, New York Rethinks Hoverboard Ban, Fortune (Dec. 30, 2015, 3:25 PM), http://fortune.com/2015/12/30/new-york-hoverboard-ban/.

[9] See id.