Hoverboards Target of Safety Probe

Officials at the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission say reports of injuries and fires associated with hoverboards have jumped 25% in the last week. What many thought would be the hottest product under the tree this year may be just that—there have been reports in at least 10 states of hoverboards catching fire. In addition, the CSPC reports 39 emergency room visits, 16 fractures, two head injuries, two concussions and multiple sprains, abrasions and contusions.

At this point, the CSPC has not issued a recall on the product, but is asking consumers to take specific steps to minimize the risk of injury:

  • The fires appear to be caused by overheating of the product’s batteries. Officials caution users not to charge the device overnight and not to put the device under the tree immediately after bringing it to a full charge. Consumers may also want to have existing batteries and chargers tested by a certified testing laboratory.
  • Users should not take hoverboards on public streets, and should always wear a bicycle or skateboard helmet and other protective gear

Because of the safety concerns, many top retailers have either suspended sales altogether or limited the versions they are making available. Overstock.com no longer sells any hoverboards and Amazon.com has discontinued some makes. And most major airlines have banned the devices on board a plane , whether as carry-on or in checked bags. Airline officials have expressed concern that the lithium-ion batteries in the devices are a potential problem.

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