When parents warn their children about the dangers of a hoverboard, they are usually warning about the risk of falling off of it and injuring themselves. There is, however, another danger that many parents are not aware of – fire.
According to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been 12 incidents in the United States where a hoverboard caught fire. These fires have resulted in the loss of homes and other property, but fortunately, not in the loss of any lives. The fires have taken place when hoverboards were charging, being used, or simply left alone. While many theories have been advanced on these hoverboard fires, most center on the batteries that power the board. The battery is a lithium ion battery; these batteries have been the reason for fires in past technology products. In 2004, there was a series of reports of cell phone fires which were powered by a lithium ion battery. Also, in 2006, Dell was forced to recall hundreds of thousands of laptops because of the possibility of their product catching fire as a result of their lithium ion batteries.
There are two primary concerns with the batteries. First, because of the popularity of the hoverboard and the great demand, many companies are making counterfeit or unauthorized batteries for the hoverboards. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to know whether or not your lithium ion battery is legitimate or not. The second concern regarding these batteries is even if you have a “good” lithium ion battery they still have the potential for fire, this is because all lithium ion batteries have the potential to catch fire if damaged in any way.
Lithium ion batteries have an anode at one end and a cathode at the other end; and in between is a separator. If the separator fails to separate the two, then you have the risk of a short circuit and fire. In counterfeit or cheap knockoff batteries, the separator may already have holes in it because of imperfections in the metal. In other circumstances, a hoverboard and its rider can easily crash into things. These crashes can result in damage not only to the hoverboard and its rider, but to the battery. If the battery is damaged, then you have the risk of a short circuit and fire.
Suggestions have been made to try and minimize the risk of fires, such as to never overcharge your hoverboard. However, the time between a charged and overcharged product may not be easily discernible by the average consumer. Another recommendation is to not charge your hoverboard indoors. But the thought of charging your $500.00 hoverboard outside with potential of rain daily, again raises eye brows among consumers.
Currently, there is no definite way to determine whether or not your hoverboard is safe or subject to catching fire. As such, consumers should be alert and reconsider whether or not to buy a hoverboard and where they should store it.
If you or someone you know or love has been injured by an unsafe or defective product, medical device or pharmaceutical, call the Personal Injury Lawyers of Roberts & Roberts. For more than 30 years the Personal Injury Lawyers of Roberts & Roberts have fought to make consumers safer. The call will cost you nothing; it can mean everything.