During the holiday season, hovers boards were the hottest toys on the market. No, I’m not talking about the hover boards from “Back to the Future,” I mean the ones you’ve probably seen on Vine and YouTube, and recently, in the news. Unlike the model Marty McFly uses, these hover boards are two-wheeled, self-balanced, motorized vehicles that only leave the ground when someone has fallen off, and now they’re illegal.
Shortly after their rise to fame, videos of these must-have holiday toys suddenly catching fire and their users taking gravity defying falls have made them enemy number one across America. From airports to the sidewalks of New York, hover boards have been banned. Just before it was time to return to campus, I, along with every student, received emails stating that hover boards were not allowed on campus grounds due to safety risks.
But are hover boards really as dangerous as they say?
In an interview with CBS News, Patty Davis, the spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said that at least 11 fires in 10 states have now been linked to the popular toy and that there are several more that are still under investigation.
As of now, the current theory is that the fires are caused by the lithium-ion batteries that rest within the plastic frame of the hover boards. Now, before you immediately throw out your hover board in fear that it could blow at any second, you might want to consider a few things first.
Well-made hover boards can cost up to $1,500, and most parents don’t want to spend that kind of money on a toy. So less-reputable brands have popped up, offering significantly cheaper models.
The problem, though, is that they lower the cost of the toys by building them with lower quality parts. So instead of buying the lower-priced ones, stick to the more high-end models; look for battery brands that you recognize, like Samsung or LG.
Lithium-ion batteries can rupture, overheat or explode if they are overcharged. Consumers should also avoid charging hover boards overnight or when away from home.
“Make sure you are there when charging and awake, and wait to charge until it is ready to be used,” Davis told CBS.
Lastly, lithium-ion batteries can puncture, overheat or explode after they suffer an impact. So if you crash on your hover board or run it into a curb, keep a watchful eye on the board to make sure nothing has been disturbed inside it.
So to answer the question “are hover boards dangerous,” I’d have to say, according to the facts, yes. But they are no more dangerous than a car, motorcycle or any other type of machinery. Whether or not you choose to get one, remember the facts above, and consider carrying an extinguisher.