Hoverboards are one of the hottest holiday gifts this year but they could pose potential safety risks to consumers. They may look cool when celebrities like Justin Bieber or Kendall Jenner ride them around the house as though there were nothing to it. But, as with anything that involves gravity, a certain amount of balance, and the use of your feet, such as rollerblades, skateboards, and snowboards; it’s not a matter of if you’re going down, but when and how often. Not to mention – how hard.
With social media turning the hoverboard or “self-balancing scooter” into somewhat of a status symbol like the latest iPhone, kids and adults alike are rushing to buy one to display their riding prowess on YouTube or Instagram. However, many of them are finding out the hard way that the lack of proper precautions can result in minor to serious injuries. And, the only place some of them have been rushing to is the emergency room.
Janice Williams, the director at the Carolina Center for Injury Prevention at Carolinas Medical Center, suggests that not everyone is cut out to ride the hoverboard. The director goes on to say that the boards should be treated “like a bike” and recommends that only kids ages 10 and up use them. Furthermore, she recommends that all riders wear a helmet – at least at the outset.
More recently, hoverboards have gone beyond causing knee abrasions and fractured ankles to being blamed for destructive house fires that occurred when they unexpectedly burst into flames near beds or sofas after being ridden. Costing anywhere from $350 to $2,000, depending on your budget, the price of a hoverboard over replacing your home or paying for emergency treatment at the nearest hospital may pale by comparison.
Internet videos showing exploding and fully engulfed hoverboards being doused by fire extinguishers have prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch a number of active fire-related hoverboard probes across nine states, according to CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson.
New York City has already seen enough and just banned them for safety reasons. Their enormous popularity this holiday season forced the NYPD to declare them illegal in November – claiming they were technically “motor vehicles that cannot be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles.” After all, not only are riders at risk of injury, but pedestrians on busy sidewalks are as well.
If a hoverboard is on your Christmas gift list, whether for yourself or someone in your family, keep in mind there are safety issues that have resulted in major retailers like Overstock.com to ban future sales over “safety concerns” from the rapidly increasing incidents of the devices spontaneously bursting into flames.
To avoid injury, consider wearing a helmet along with knee and elbow pads during the learning process. As for the sudden bursting into flames, investing in a fire extinguisher may also be a fairly good idea.
Keeping your health insurance up to date or getting coverage to protect yourself and your family is important this time of year. Injuries can occur the first time you get on a hoverboard as easily as racing around on rollerblades or a new bike.
Furthermore, it’s flu season and a serious case could land you in the hospital. So, take advantage of the enrollment period, which continues until January 31, 2016, to get low cost health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Why not get a free health insurance quote today?
Have you purchased a hoverboard that resulted in an injury or fire? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.