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Hoverboards have become a popular mode of transportation for people of all ages. However, with reports of injuries and even fires caused by hoverboards, it’s important to ask the question: are hoverboards safe?
In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know before riding a hoverboard, including safety tips, potential risks, and how to ensure your hoverboard is compliant with safety standards. Whether you’re a seasoned hoverboard rider or considering purchasing your first board, read on to learn how to stay safe while having fun on your hoverboard.
Are Hoverboards Safe?
When considering the safety of hoverboards, two important issues arise. Firstly, there have been incidents of hoverboards catching fire, leading to product recalls. Secondly, due to the absence of a handlebar, there’s a potential for children to fall off and hurt themselves. Below we will delve into each of these issues to discuss the current state of hoverboard safety.
Regarding the first issue, product recalls have been issued for hoverboards that could potentially catch fire. This was due to the lithium-ion batteries in some hoverboards overheating, causing fire hazards. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy a hoverboard, make sure that it is UL-certified and that the battery pack in use meets safety standards.
The second issue relates to the safety of children using hoverboards. It is essential to highlight that careful consideration of the weight limit and safety gear (such as helmets and wrist guards) must be taken into account, particularly for children. Furthermore, children must be taught how to use hoverboards safely, such as by keeping their center of gravity over the board and not exceeding the recommended miles per hour.
Which hoverboards are catching fire?
Hoverboards catching fire remain a concerning issue since its launch in 2015, and the concern persists today. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the primary recall back in 2016 for over 500,000 hoverboards from ten different companies due to lithium-ion battery packs that could overheat, causing the product to smoke, catch fire, and/or explode. Since then, there have been numerous other recalls in 2017 and one in 2021, resulting in over 750,000 recalled hoverboards to date, all due to the same reason: safety concerns surrounding lithium-ion battery packs.
Though most of the recalls are for brands that are no longer in existence or you’ve probably never heard of, Razor and Swagtron (formerly Swagway), which are widely known brands, were also among them. Considering the fact that almost all hoverboards use lithium-ion batteries, every brand of hoverboard must be approached with caution.
How can I prevent my hoverboard from catching fire?
One of the best ways to prevent your hoverboard from catching fire is to ensure that it is UL-certified and meets safety standards.
How to Prevent Hoverboard Fires
Hoverboards have become immensely popular for people of all ages. However, with the increasing popularity came some safety concerns and the risk of fire. Following guidance from the CPSC and respected manufacturers like Swagtron and GoTrax can help minimize the risk of your hoverboard catching fire. Here’s how.
Use the Provided Charger:
Only use the charger that came with your hoverboard. Different models require different chargers, so avoid interchangeability. Using the wrong charger can lead to overheating and damage the battery.
Do not leave your hoverboard to charge overnight or for extended periods because overcharging can cause overheating. It is recommendable to charge your hoverboard in an open, well-ventilated area. The charging duration should be monitored to reduce the risk of fire.
Check the Weather:
Riding or charging your hoverboard in extreme temperatures can damage the battery and, in turn, cause fires. Avoid charging and riding your hoverboard in temperatures below 32°F and above 104°F.
UL 2272 Certification
The CPSC recognized a pressing need for industry-wide safety measures in electrical systems for self-balancing scooters, otherwise known as hoverboards. To this end, in early 2016, they issued a letter requiring hoverboards sold in the US to comply with the voluntary UL 2272 safety standard. This standard focuses on mitigating electrical risks, and according to the CPSC, hoverboards lacking this certification pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers.
If you’re shopping for a hoverboard, always verify that it’s UL 2272 certified. The certification process involves careful analysis of the manufacturing standards and rigorous testing processes. Manufacturers of compliant hoverboards must maintain certification requirements to ensure their product meets high safety standards.
Hoverboard battery types
Hoverboards are popular self-balancing scooters that run on batteries. Most hoverboards are equipped with lithium-ion batteries due to their small size, high energy density, and cost-effectiveness. However, many hoverboards have been recalled due to issues with their lithium-ion battery packs. These batteries have inherent risk factors such as overheating, catching fire, or exploding.
Swagtron, a leading hoverboard brand, has been using a newer type of lithium-ion battery called LiFePO4, which is much safer than the standard lithium-ion batteries used in hoverboards. LiFePO4 batteries are considered much more stable and less likely to combust, explode or burn up while riding or charging or from puncture or damage during use as intended. Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries have a longer ride time and hold up better over time than lithium-ion batteries.
Hoverboard Age – How Old Should a Child Be?
When it comes to hoverboards, the recommended age is typically 8 years old and up. However, age shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when determining if a child is ready to ride. Balance and coordination are essential skills that come with practice, and some children may need more time to develop them.
Max speeds are also a crucial consideration when choosing a hoverboard for a child. These can range from 6 mph to 9 mph, so it’s important to choose a model with an appropriate maximum speed for your child’s age and ability. Some hoverboards do have training modes that can be helpful for beginners by limiting the maximum speed while they learn.
It’s crucial to check the manufacturer’s age restrictions and weight barriers before purchasing a hoverboard. These restrictions are put in place for the safety of riders and should not be ignored. Ultimately, the decision of when a child is ready to ride a hoverboard comes down to their physical ability, maturity level, and experience.
Will my child fall and hurt themselves?
As with any ride-on device, hoverboards carry potential risks, specifically with children falling and sustaining injuries. In comparison to standard scooters, the lack of handlebars on hoverboards makes it more challenging to maintain balance, which may result in falls and collisions.
Pediatricians have reported a rising trend in emergency room visits due to hoverboard accidents, advising against their use. Although falls are inevitable, safety precautions can prevent injuries. During the steeper learning curve, especially with timid children, always supervise and provide adequate protective gear, such as helmets, knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, and good shoes to ensure balance and coordination.
Other Safety Concerns for Hoverboard
Aside from the risk of falling or collisions, there are other safety concerns to consider when riding a hoverboard. It is important to check the weight capacity of the board and make sure it is within your weight range.
Hazards in Hoverboard
Despite not worrying about explosives, one must consider the various hazards that come with using hoverboards in the workplace or recreational settings. A prevalent risk related to hoverboards is the possibility of falling and getting hurt, as hoverboards can move at a top speed of approximately 10mph and can be dangerous, unlike slower skateboards which are less risky. It is essential to wear proper safety equipment, including helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist protectors while riding the hoverboard to prevent fractures, sprains, and other injuries.
Accidents can be common while riding hoverboards or even bicycles, especially if you ride them in the streets. Therefore, it is advisable to use the hoverboard only in safe areas without traffic surroundings. Supervising children while they are riding the hoverboard is necessary, as young riders tend to be less aware of their surroundings and hence more prone to accidents.
Weight Restrictions and Hilly Terrains
Hoverboards have weight restrictions that range from 45 pounds to 300 pounds, depending on the board. It is recommended to visit the manufacturer’s website to learn more about these restrictions before purchasing the hoverboard to protect yourself and the vehicle.
Hoverboard Safety Tips for Children
Hoverboards are fun and exciting, but they can also be hazardous if proper safety precautions are not taken. As a parent, it is crucial to ensure that your child is safe while using a hoverboard. Here are some safety tips to follow:
- Enforce a ‘no helmet, no riding’ policy for your child. Protective gear such as helmets, wrist guards, and knee pads should be worn at all times to prevent injuries.
- Check the manufacturer’s instructions for age and weight restrictions. Ensure that your child’s weight and age are within the allowed range before letting them ride.
- Never use a motorized toy that causes overheating. This can result in hoverboard fires and injuries.
- Prohibit your child from riding in or near traffic as it can be dangerous.
- Consider enrolling your child in lessons if they are a beginner. Proper training can prevent accidents and help your child ride safely.
- Regularly inspect your child’s hoverboard for any structural damage or cleanliness issues. Maintain the device to ensure safety.
When attending a hoverboard party, discuss these safety tips with the host and other parents to ensure everyone understands the importance of following these rules.
Are hoverboards safe for a 10-year old?
Absolutely, hoverboards are safe for a 10-year old to use, but it is important to note that there is a potential risk of injury. To ensure optimum safety, we highly recommend providing the child with adequate safety gear such as a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.
Do hoverboards still catch fire?
After the initial safety concerns about hoverboards catching fire, most brands have updated their devices with high-quality batteries. Therefore, the chance of a hoverboard catching fire has significantly reduced. However, it’s still essential to follow safety guidelines and only purchase compliant hoverboards.
How to protect your hoverboard against fire risks?
To safeguard against the risk of fire, it’s essential to purchase a hoverboard that is UL 2272 certified. A high-quality battery is included in these hoverboards, minimizing the risk of fire and ensuring your hoverboard is safe.
Are hoverboard chargers safe?
If you are buying a hoverboard charger that is not from the original manufacturer, it is crucial to ensure that it aligns with the original charger in terms of voltage and type.
Nonetheless, when used correctly, hoverboard chargers, like any other electronic device charger, are safe.
Are hoverboards dangerous?
Hoverboards have generated controversy and safety concerns. These two-wheeled scooters may offer a fun way to travel short distances, but they can also pose a risk of injury or falls. To keep safe while riding a hoverboard, it’s essential to wear protective gear and exercise caution.
Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware of the product description and safety features, such as weight restrictions and compliance with safety standards. While hoverboards can provide a smooth ride, they must be treated with care due to their lithium-ion battery packs and circuit boards, which can overheat and pose a fire risk.
The safety of hoverboards heavily relies on various factors such as the quality of the hoverboard, the user’s skill level, and the safety gear worn. Before riding a hoverboard, it’s important to ensure that it is compliant with safety standards and has a UL certification. Moreover, users should always wear protective gear such as helmets, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards.
Lastly, riders must be aware of their surroundings and follow safety tips such as riding in safe areas with a smooth surface and avoiding obstacles. It’s also crucial to adhere to weight restrictions and obey speed limits. By following these precautions, riding hoverboards can provide a fun and enjoyable experience while ensuring the safety of both the rider and those around them.
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