The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs alerted consumers that “hoverboards,” one of this past season’s hottest gift items, is being investigated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for possible fire hazards.
The CPSC launched its investigation amid nationwide reports that the self-balancing, wheeled scooters have exploded or burst into flames while in use or during the battery charging process. New Jersey officials said two of those reported fires occurred in New Jersey.
“While there is no conclusive evidence that hoverboards are defective or inherently unsafe, we want consumers to be aware of the potential dangers and take precautions to keep themselves and their children safe,” said Steve Lee, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will monitor the CPSC investigation and keep consumers updated on any findings.”
In a statement on the agency website, CPSC announced it is “moving quickly” to address the growing public concern regarding hoverboard safety. CPSC said its staff is working non-stop to find the root cause of the fire hazard, assess how much risk it might present, and provide consumers with answers as soon as possible.
CPSC said its engineers are testing new and damaged boards to determine why some models caught fire. Experts for the agency are looking particularly closely at the configuration of the battery packs and compatibility with the chargers, according to the CPSC website.
While much of the public concern is focused on the hoverboard’s fire hazards, Acting Director Lee reminded New Jersey consumers to also protect themselves against the danger of falling while using the popular item.
“As with any scooter, skateboard, or wheeled toy, it’s important to wear a proper helmet and protective padding while riding a hoverboard to avoid serious injury,” he said.
CPSC offers the follwing tips to reduce the risks associated with hoverboards:
- Avoid buying the product at a location (like a mall kiosk) or on a website that does not have information about who is selling the product and how they can be contacted if there is a problem. If the buyers do not think they could find the seller again, were a problem to arise with the board, steer clear of doing business with the them.
- Do not charge a hoverboard overnight or when the user is not able to observe the board.
- Charge and store in an open dry area away from items that can catch fire.
- Do not charge directly after riding. Let the device cool for an hour before charging.
- If giving a hoverboard as a gift, leave it in its partially charged state. Do not take it out of the package to bring it to a full charge and then wrap it back up. Often, the product comes partially charged. Leave it in that state until it is ready to be used.
- Look for the mark of a certified national testing laboratory. While this does not rule out counterfeits, the absence of such a mark means safety is likely not a priority for that manufacturer.
- Do not ride the hoverboard near any vehicular traffic.
CPSC urges consumers to report incidents involving hoverboards to the agency via www.SaferProducts.gov.
Source: The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
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