Well, the day was not that exciting.
Normal office work. During lunch break, I was browsing around YouTube. A YouTube video made my day. It was those cute little kids riding on hoverboards. The joy that I saw on their faces was priceless.
I love kids! I immediately decided to give the board to my little niece as a gift. And BAM! The question that came to my mind was, are hoverboards safe for kids? Well, after a whole day of research, here is what I have found.
There are many recorded incidents of hoverboard accidents, and the majority of them are found for around 12 years old kids. It is not safe for kids to ride hoverboards near a staircase, high places, kitchen or outside of the home. However, if the kids wear the appropriate and well-fitted helmet as well as knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist pads, then the risks of injury are lower. Plus, if they ride in the presence of adult supervision, the chance of accident is reduced even further. Last but not the least, buy a UL2272 certified hoverboard from a well-known retailer to be safe from unwanted hoverboard fires.
For kid’s safety on hoverboard do the following
- Make sure the kids wear a well-fitted helmet, Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wrist Guards. They will keep them safe from injury.
- Only let the kids ride in the presence of responsible adults.
- Don’t let the children ride near any dangerous areas like kitchen, staircase, etc., while on their hoverboard.
- Don’t let the kids ride hoverboards outside of the home where vehicles are driving.
- Buy UL2272 certified hoverboards only.
- Buy the hoverboard from a reliable retailer.
- Teach your children about where not to put their fingers on a hoverboard. Note: kids should not put their finger in the wheel area of a hoverboard.
- Don’t let your kid multitask on a hoverboard. For example, don’t let them use a smartphone or listen to music with headphones while they are on a hoverboard.
- Charge a hoverboard in a safe place so that even if it catches on fire, it does not spread flames inside your house. Do not ever go to sleep with a hoverboard plugged in to charge.
2 types of hoverboard accidents that occur the most
1) Fracture due to Falling:
Most of the hoverboard accidents happen due to falling. Many users fall off when they are first starting to learn. Sometimes, people fall from hoverboards due to trying to multitask while they are on a hoverboard.
Most of the injuries are fractures, followed by contusions, strains, and sprains. The main affected areas are wrists, forearms, and head.
According to a study done on hoverboard accidents that occurred up to June 30, 2016, 40% injuries were fractures. Whereas 17% were wounds and 13% were strains or sprains. These type of injuries occur due to falling.
According to the research, 19% of the injuries were wrist injuries. The others injuries occurred to head (14%) and forearm(14%).
Of the injuries reported, 14% were head injuries. However, wrist and forearm injuries can also be severe depending on the type of accident. Hoverboards are clearly hazardous for not only kids but also adults.
Although we have heard a lot of news about hoverboard fires, fewer accidents happened due to this reason.
According to the study conducted in 2016, only 3% of accidents occurred due to burning, and not all of the fires even started from hoverboard. In one case, a kid was riding a hoverboard in the kitchen and had hot water spill on them. For this reason, it is essential that we should always ride hoverboards in safe places.
I found some news in which some homes burned because of the explosion of the hoverboards. Some of the burnings even caused deaths. A low-quality hoverboard may explode at the time of charging, and the home may catch fire because of it.
Some people go to sleep after plugging in the hoverboard for charging. We should avoid this behavior as it is hazardous to our home and personal safety.
Types of fractures that may happen and how to prevent them
Head fracture is the most dangerous one. Wearing a well-fitted helmet is crucial. Some people buy helmets that are bigger or smaller in size. As a result, they do not fit tightly to the head. Those helmets will not keep your kids safe.
Wearing just a helmet will not keep your kids safe. Wearing them appropriately according to safety rules is the key.
How to wear a helmet to safeguard your kid from head injury
- Let the kid select his/her headgear. Why? Because, if they choose the helmet by themselves, they will be more likely to wear it.
- Helmet Size: It is crucial. You should select a comfortable and close fitting helmet. Use sizing pads to fit the headgear to the head.
- Helmet Position: Set the helmet 1 or 2 fingers above the eyebrow.
- Center the left bucket under the chin. To adjust the chin straps, pull them from the back of the helmet.
- Adjust the left and right slider of the straps. Try to make a V-shape. Position them in front of the ear.
- Fasten the chin strap. They should not be uncomfortable. Nor should they be loose. At most 2 fingers can be fitted under the chin strap.
The most common fracture is distal radius fracture which occurs at the end of the wrist. This type of fracture happens when the rider tries to stop their fall with their hand.
Using a wrist guard can save your kid from having a fracture. It will lower the risk by half.
Teach your kids how to ride a hoverboard before they try. There are many YouTube videos on it. Don’t forget to wear a wrist guard.
Another type of fracture that occurs for many kids are finger fractures. This can occur when they put their fingers inside the area between the wheel and wheel-wall. Sometimes kids do that by mistake not knowing that the hoverboard is turned on.
To avoid this problem, we should teach our kids about safety rules before giving them a hoverboard. While they are not playing, we should keep the hoverboard out of their reach. The safest thing is, while they are playing with a hoverboard keep them under adult supervision.
Facts related to hoverboard explosion
Why do the hoverboards catch on fire?
Hoverboards use powerful lithium-ion batteries. Although mobile phones or laptops use this type of cell, the lithium batteries of hoverboards are more powerful. These Li-ion batteries have flammable electrolytes.
When these batteries are of poor quality, the risks of burning gets higher. However, nowadays renowned companies are making hoverboards that maintain UL2272 certification. They are less likely to catch on fire.
What does UL stand for and what does it mean?
UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories. This organization is more than 100 years old. In February 2016 UL published requirements for electrical systems of hoverboards, i.e., self-balancing scooters. Before buying hoverboards, you should look for the UL certification hologram on hoverboards. You can also check the specification section of the hoverboard if you are buying from an online shop.
Don’t plug in the hoverboard to charge and then go to sleep
It is advised not to plug in hoverboards to charge before going to bed. I have found some news articles describing how hoverboard explosions during charging burned entire houses.
Although a UL2272 certified hoverboard is not supposed to explode, we should not plug them to charge before going to sleep. And we should charge them in a safe place so that even if they do catch fire, it does not burn the whole house.
It takes 2-4 hours to charge a hoverboard fully. So, charge them while you are awake. Life and home are more valuable than hoverboard.
What is the age limit for a hoverboard?
I saw a YouTube video titled hoverboards for toddlers. Yes, that’s true!
I am not sure if riding hoverboards by toddlers is allowed by the government. Most of the 6.5-inch wheel hoverboards of renowned brands are for 8 years or more. However, I have found some different wheel sized hoverboards that have an age range from 3 to 10.
That being said, don’t forget to follow the safety rules. It does not matter what the age of the rider is. Follow safety rules properly.
Before buying the hoverboards for the kids, check the age range in the specification section of the product. Different size of hoverboards are for kids of different ages and weights.
Safe hoverboard size for kids
If the age of the kid is 8 years or more, probably a 6.5-inch wheeled hoverboard will be good for them. Some 5 years old have also ridden a 6.5-inch wheeled hoverboard. However officially most of the companies do not allow that.
If your kid is underweight or afraid of a 6.5-inch hoverboard, you may go for a 4.5 inch one. The problem is, I searched a lot in the market, but I could not find a 4.5-inch hoverboard made by a well-known brand. Most of the 4.5-inch hoverboards are made by cheap companies.
To buy a safe hoverboard for kids, check for the following –
- In general, try to buy a name brand. The branded well named hoverboards will maintain the standards.
- Before buying check if the hoverboard is UL2272 certified. Only buy UL2272 certified hoverboards.
- Buy from a well-known retailer.
- Check if the hoverboard charger is CE/UL2272 certified.
There is no doubt that hoverboards are not completely safe for kids. However, if we follow the safety rules that I have stated throughout the article, then I think most kids will be safe. Although I will not buy an expensive one for a child, I will definitely buy a UL2272 certified hoverboard. And I will buy from a renowned retailer. What do you think about it? Are you willing to buy a hoverboard for your kids? And why so? Let me know in the comments below.