This holiday season, beware of exploding hoverboards

Hoverboards will be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season, and we mean literally as reports of boards catching fire and even exploding are flooding the internet. Now, retailers and government agencies are beginning to do something about it.

Amazon is warning customers to throw away some boards amid safety concerns, and is requiring hoverboard makers provide documentation that their boards are in-line with “applicable safety standards,” according to ABC News. One hoverboard maker, Sagway, briefly had its boards removed from Amazon and Target. Sagway successfully proved its boards meet safety standards.

Other retailers are removing the self-balancing scooters from online and store shelves, and now government agencies are throwing down the hammer on hoverboards, too.

The US Postal Service said this week it won’t fly hoverboards in its airplanes, instead shipping them by ground.

“Out of an abundance of caution and in line with major retailers and the airline industry, the Postal Service is limiting the domestic shipping of mailable motorized balance boards, or hoverboards, that contain lithium batteries,” The USPS said. The agency is also shutting down international mail shipments of the boards.

USPS’ concerns center on lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards, which can overheat, catch on fire and explode. Some hoverboard makers are also reportedly using cheaper materials to cut costs, at the expense of safety.

The postal service already has rules and regulations regarding mailing lithium batteries, but its hoverboard policy may be a bummer for those hoping to unwrap one on Christmas morning.

You can see one board burst into flames in the video below:

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVSwr-sahiE

The UK’s National Trading Standards consumer protection agency seized 32,000 out of 38,800 hoverboards that have come into UK ports since October, according to Buzzfeed News. The agency said it made the seizures because of concerns related to “the plugs, cabling, chargers, batteries or the cut-off switches within the boards.” If the cut-off switch isn’t working, the battery will keep charging, leading to overheating and, well, fire and explosions.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating 12 reports of hoverboard-related fires in 10 states.

Given the high demand for hoverboards, it’s no surprise that cheap, unsafe models are looking to cash in on the craze. We recommend doing your research and avoiding impulse buying a board just because it’s cheap and in stock.

Top image credit: Ben Larcey (Flickr Creative Commons)

  • There will be no hoverboards allowed at CES 2016

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