UPDATE: On Friday February 19, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) instructed manufacturers and retailers to stop selling hoverboards unless they meet UL Standard 2272. KID echoes the CPSC’s advice and we advise consumers to stop using hoverboards, check to see if they meet the UL Standard. If they don’t, return for refund. Check out this one minute video and in depth article for more information
Almost everyone has been hearing about hoverboard fires lately. Case in point, I was traveling a few weekends ago and the airline printed a special warning about banned hoverboards on the ticket and announced several times that they would not be allowed on the flight. Amazon made news last week by announcing that it would offer refunds for hoverboards purchased on their site. Even Saturday Night Live joined the conversation by airing a skit that poked fun of the volatile nature of the product.
Forty fires over 19 states involving hoverboards have been reported, and the numbers keep growing. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the government agency charged with protecting consumers from unsafe products, has been investigating, but taken no action. On January 20, CPSC issued a statement on the safety of hoverboards and the status of their investigation. In the statement, they named 13 hoverboard manufacturers they were currently investigating and provided consumers a list of some of their concerns and tips for safer use of the product.
The warning, safety tips and praise to retailers who are offering refunds or removing the product from sale is not enough. KID feels that a more active response is necessary in light of the very real and rising danger of this product. To that end, we would like to see the CPSC recall the hoverboard brands they have confirmed caught fire, even as the agency continues its investigation.
Strong safety standards and testing requirements are needed. Currently, there is no safety standard for Hoverboards. ASTM, an international standards organization, is beginning work on a voluntary standard for hoverboards. While it is a good step, the fires, property damage and injuries we have seen already show the shortcomings of this reactive approach – consumers pay the price when products enter the market first and are tested for safety later.
KID and other safety advocates around the country fight every day to create a more proactive system where a child’s, our most vulnerable consumer, safety is put first. It is work that is often done behind the scenes, but the impact of these efforts is ultimately felt in every home, school and child care facility, and store shelf. KID will continue to fight to put safety first and share our victories and defeats with you along the way. If you would like to add your voice to ours, please consider joining the KID Action Team.