Hoverboards may be too hot to handle

Remember the levitating skateboard used by Marty McFly in the 1989 movie, Back to the Future, Part 2? Now known as hoverboards, they are a hot commodity among teens and young adults.

These two-wheeled boards propel themselves by using motors powered by Lithium-ion batteries. A rider steers them by shifting their weight while on the board.

There are, however, documented hazards with these boards.

The batteries in these devices have been known to catch fire. There are reports of hoverboards burning peoples’ homes down while the devices were plugged into their chargers. People have been injured when the hoverboard exploded underneath them mid-ride.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated the reports of fires caused by the batteries and chargers. According to the commission, the original hoverboard used a specific type of battery that was safe, but subsequent copies of the hoverboard design made overseas used cheap chargers and batteries. In these instances, the charger could overcharge the battery and lead to an extreme build-up of heat, causing a fire.

Problematic signs to look out for are:

  • Leaking fluids
  • Excessive heat
  • Odor
  • Sparking
  • Smoke

If you notice any of these signs, stop using the device right away and seek immediate help. If it’s safe to do so, move the hoverboard outside away from anything that can burn or start a fire.