Since hitting the market in 2015, the self-balancing scooters commonly called hoverboards have been seeing their reputation worsen almost by the day. Most of us have heard the reports of some of these products spontaneously catching fire or exploding due to overheating lithium batteries, prompting several airlines and transit authorities to ban them completely. As recently as last November, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued yet another recall on numerous brands of hoverboards over fire dangers.
However, fire isn’t actually the biggest threat a hoverboard poses to your child—at least from a statistical point of view. It’s injury due to falling.
According to a report released by NEJM Journal Watch, emergency rooms across the U.S. have treated nearly 27,000 children for injuries caused by hoverboards in the first two years since these products went on the market. Forty percent of these injuries were fractures and broken bones, followed by cuts and sprains. While the report itself accounts for no injuries due to fire, overheating hoverboards have caused several house fires, including one that recently killed a three-year-old girl. Thus, while the fire danger is legitimate, a child is far more likely to be injured by riding or falling off the hoverboard itself, due to its design.
Is There a Way to Ride a Hoverboard Safely?
That question is still up for debate, as some critics allege that hoverboards in general have been designed defectively, and that their manufacturers have failed to issue proper warnings and guidelines for their use. Some allege that even a pebble on a driveway can cause a hoverboard to turn unexpectedly, causing the rider to lose balance. For now, if you choose to ride one or buy one for your child, you should know the inherent risks and take steps to mitigate those risks, such as:
- Wear protective gear (i.e., helmet, elbow/knee pads and wrist guards)
- Don’t allow children to ride unsupervised. (The American Association of Pediatrics also recommends that children under age 16 not ride them at all.)
- Watch where you’re going. Stay off uneven surfaces, loose gravel, etc.
- Stay out of traffic. One wrong move could send someone hurtling in front of a vehicle.
- Don’t leave a charging hoverboard unattended. (Most fires have occurred while the board is charging.)
If your child has been injured in a hoverboard accident, or if you’ve suffered damage to your property from a fire caused by a hoverboard, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can advise you of your rights and provide effective representation as needed. Call us for a free evaluation.