The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) has warned hoverboard owners to have a fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using the self-balancing devices, after launching an investigation into a series of explosions.
The CSPC is currently investigating hoverboards made and imported into the US by a range of companies, including Swagway, One Stop Electronic Inc, Glide Boards and 10 others. The investigating is currently focused on the lack of suitable safety features required for the use of lithium-ion batteries.
Chairman of CSPC, Elliot Kaye, said: There are certain basic safety technologies we expect these units to have that should prevent overheating and potential combustion. These are the same readily-available technologies that exist in properly manufactured lithium-ion batteries used in the notebook computers and cell phones we all use every day.
The CSPC is also looking at the control systems and whether they are capable of adjusting their speed and power levels for different weights of riders, following a series of serious rider injuries resulting from unexpected movement of the boards.
Kaye said: We are looking deeper into the design of these products to see if they present a hidden hazard that is leading to fall injuries that should not occur, even on a product that presents some risk of falling. Many people, including children, have ended up with fractures, contusions or head/brain injuries.
There are currently no safety standards for the new self-balancing boards that sold like hot cakes at Christmas, despite some boards being labeled falsely with the Underwriters Laboratories stamp of safety. Kaye warned that such devices with UL labels on the box may be counterfeit and that the use of the mark is, at best, misleading.
Kayes advice to those who wish to continue using the boards is to gear up with a skateboard helmet, elbow and knee pads and wrist guards before riding, to not use the boards on or near a road where it may be illegal, to charge in an open area away from combustible material and have a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using these boards.