Are Hoverboards a Safety Hazard

As the holiday season passes by, many of the season’s hottest toys will be shown off at school and around the neighborhood. The Hoverboard, the electric self-balancing scooter, has become one of the most popular gifts for the 2015 Christmas season. However, many of these hoverboards are being deemed as a fire hazard because of its low quality lithium batteries, which has caused an uproar among users as they view the videos highlighting the danger of these explosive Hoverboards.

The history of this scooter begins at a Chinese company called Chic Robotics, or Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology company. In August of 2014, Chic Robotics revealed its first self-balancing scooter called the Smart S1. They brought this hoverboard to the Chinese Canton Fair, where it immediately became an instant hit, with the product quickly being sold out, and multiple other companies copying the design. As the number of companies that sold this product grew, so did the advertising. Companies turned to major pop stars and famous viners to advertise their hoverboards on social media. Soon, every teen around the world knew about these high-tech hoverboards, and were already wishing for this on their Christmas wish list. To beat the competition in the hoverboard business, some companies were making their hoverboards with cheaper materials and marketing them at a lower price, appealing their boards to the parents who were buying these gifts during the holiday season. The major concern about these cheaper materials is that it makes the hoverboard extremely dangerous to the user, as there has been several accounts of these cheaper hoverboards exploding either while charging or during use.

The significant problem of these cheap hoverboards are the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries inside of them; these low quality batteries can overheat and cause the hoverboards to explode.  Timothy Cade of Alabama claims that his hoverboard burst into flames three days after he bought it, and another family blames their new hoverboard for setting their house on fire and destroying their home. Even more disturbing, an eleven year old’s hoverboard has claimed to explode just seconds after she rode it.  Videos have recorded these hoverboards exploding into fire, as shown in one video of a hoverboard kiosk in the Washington State Mall.

“For no apparent reason, it just exploded,” Kelli Steiner, the woman who shot the video, explains. “No one was on it. No one was touching it.”

These self-balancing scooters have proven to seriously harm users and people around the user, which is why online retailers and airplane companies are setting regulations against these dangerous toys. Amazon and Overstock has pulled certain hoverboards from their shelves, and major airlines such as Delta, Hawaiian Air, Virgin America, and Lufthansa ban these scooters from luggage.  

To avoid these dangerous hoverboards, the National Association of Fire State Marshals advises customers to avoid the cheap hoverboards that use low- quality batteries, and to instead turn to hoverboards that use LG or Samsung batteries. Armin Monajemi, the manager of Drones Plus, advises customers to get a hoverboard at least $400 to ensure the safety of the user. So when buying your new hoverboard, don’t look only at the price tag, but also at the quality of theses dangerous self-balancing scooters.