Hoverboards special.

Hoverboards that burst into flames are in the news again, topping a consumer watchdog’s list of dangerous summer toys to avoid.


“Hoverboards continue to be linked to fires and children are dying, with no sense of urgency on the part of the manufacturers and retailers,” wrote James Swartz, a trial attorney and head of the consumer advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) in a recent news release.

Hoverboards have been on WATCH’s blacklist since 2015 because their lithium-ion batteries have a bad habit of combusting spontaneously. They’ve exploded in shopping malls. They’ve burst into flames while people are riding on them. And they’ve caught on fire while being charged in people’s homes, causing millions of dollars worth of property damage. By July 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission had logged 99 reports of hoverboards smoking, sparking or catching on fire and issued a recall of more than 500,000 hoverboards from different manufacturers. And this spring, two children were killed in a fire caused by an exploding hoverboard.

Federal regulators found that two girls, 3 and 10, died this March in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania after a hoverboard-related house fire. The hoverboard caught on fire while charging in an outlet on the first floor, engulfing the home in flames.

“It is a tragedy when a child dies, but when that death could have been prevented it’s inexcusable,” said Joan Siff, president of WATCH, who urges parents to avoid hoverboards entirely. “Consumers should not be used as a testing ground for unsafe products.”

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