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Several Hoverboard Brands Recalled Over Fire, Explosion Risks

Federal safety officials have issued a hoverboard recalls impacting several thousand different models distributed in the United States, after receiving reports of the lithium ion battery packs overheating and catching on fire, posing a fire hazard that could result in injuries or property damage. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced six separate recalls that due to the risk of hoverboard fires, impacting products with brand names like Sonic Smart Wheels, Smart Balance, Drone Nerds, Go Wheels, iHoverspeed and Tech Drift.

The recalls were issued after the CPSC received at least two reports of the self-balancing scooters catching on fire in Mississippi and Louisiana, which resulted in in tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage to the homes. To date, no injuries have been reported in relation to the recalls.

Self-balancing scooters, more commonly known as hoverboards, have two wheels at either end of a platform and are powered by lithium-ion battery packs to move forward of backwards. The devices have been deemed hazardous and a hoverboard ban is in place against most models, due to the potential for many of the lithium ion batteries to have been cheaply made and pose overheating risks that can result in fires.

The newest series of problems stems from the following six brands of hoverboards recalled by the CPSC on November 14, 2017 due to potential overheating and fire risks.

Most of the recalled units were manufactured in China, except for the Smart Balance Wheel self-balancing scooters that were manufactured in the United States. The products were sold at various electronics retail stores and also online through Amazon.com.

All of the manufacturers affected by the recall are offering recall remedies that either include a free replacement hoverboard that is marked with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark of inspection, a full refund, or a store credit for another purchase.

Hoverboard Safety Concerns

Since 2015, when the devices became popular across the U.S., the CPSC has received more than 100 reports of the lithium ion battery packs overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire or exploding. The agency investigated more than 60 fires reportedly started by hoverboards that have caused injuries to users, including burns to the legs, arms, and neck. The incidents have also caused severe property damage.

As reports of problems with the lithium-ion batteries continued to surface the Department of Transportation (DOT) warned the devices should be shipped as hazardous materials because of the safety threat the batteries posed. The DOT found that 80 percent of shippers could not produce valid testing that verified the hoverboard lithium-ion batteries were properly tested and packaged to maintain integrity during transport, posing safety concerns.

In July 2016, the CPSC issued a nationwide  hoverboard recall of more than 500,000 units after continuing to receive reports of imported lithium ion battery power hoverboards catching on fire. Following the recall, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an order banning unlicensed hoverboards from being imported into the U.S. to prevent cheaply made lithium ion batteries from causing injuries and property damage to consumers.

Earlier this year, the CPSC issued a hoverboard warning to parents and owners to verify whether their children are in possession of one of the recalled devices after a three year old girl from Pennsylvania was killed in a house fire. According to the CPSC report, Ashanti Hughes, 3, died on March 11 in her Harrisburg, Pennsylvania home after a hoverboard caught of fire. Another girl in the home was reported to have suffered severe burns to over 95 percent of her body due to the incident.

Customers are being asked to stop using the recalled hoverboards immediately, remove the battery, and should refrain from plugging the battery into any charging station to prevent overheating events. Customers with additional questions should visit the above referenced recall links for additional information on the recalled hoverboards.

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