Hoverboards: What You Need To Know

Back in January 2016 we wrote an article about a hot new product that was causing harm to those using it. In fact, this such product was bursting into flames and sometimes exploding. Sadly, this product was a toy designed for kids…and yet, it was harming them.

This particular toy is called a Hoverboard! Yet, it doesn’t really hover. It’s a sleek looking, gyroscopically stabilized, two-wheeled motorized scooter that you stand up on and control with your body movements. Think of it as a smaller version of a Segway without the handlebars.

At the time, certain stores actually pulled the product off the shelves and elected to stop selling the hoverboards. Yet somehow, these boards were still being sold. Now a year has passed and kids are still getting hurt.

Just recently in Harrisburg Pennsylvania a three-year-old was killed in a house fire caused by the overheating of a hoverboard. According to news reports the family heard “sizzling and crackling” noises and the hoverboard exploded shortly after. Ashanti Hughes died in a hospital shortly after from the injuries sustained from the hoverboard explosion. Two other girls were admitted to the hospital and remain in critical condition and two family members were treated for smoke inhalation.

So far the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has investigated more than 60 cases of hoverboard fires just in the last year. These types of scooters were the hottest (pardon the pun) items on kid’s 2015 Christmas list.

So what makes these devices dangerous? It seems to be the batteries they use as a power source, or perhaps the charging device. The batteries are lithium-ion in construction and depending on where they are manufactured can be the source of the problem. The batteries in question seem to come from overseas and if damaged or defective these batteries can overheat and explode.

It has been reported that the CEO of one of the manufacturers of the hoverboard and one of the first companies to sell the devices in Asia, admitted to cutting corners by putting cheaper batteries in them.

Six months after we wrote our original article, CPSC warned consumers to stop using the hoverboards made by certain manufacturers. Apparently, stores (both brick and mortar and online) continue to sell hoverboards under various brand names.

When you buy a toy whether for yourself or as a gift you assume a degree of safety has been adhered to and protocols complied with to assure that the product has passed rigorous testing. But we have found that in some corners of the world you can by counterfeit test reports to present on import of a product to scam the customs agents into letting a product in the USA for sale. Rarely do you think that the toy you are buying could severely burn or otherwise cause an injury or death. But if corners have been cut, and people bribed to fake testing data, it is understandable how consumers can be cheated.

If you’ve been injured by a product and would like to know what your legal obligations are, or to find out if your case has validity I invite you to pick up the phone and call us at (219)736-9700. We are an Indiana Personal Injury Law Firm that concentrates on these types of product liability claims. We’ve represented clients in cases ranging from children’s toys, bicycles, portable swimming pools, kitchen appliances, faulty smoke detectors, ski equipment, packaging equipment and many more consumer products.

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