We haven’t even had time to recycle the wrapping paper yet, and already kids — and their parents — are getting hurt on one of this season’s most popular gifts.
Right after Thanksgiving, the hoverboard was named one of the most popular toys of the Christmas season, and it is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous, now that the holiday is over. What is the hoverboard, and why is it making everyone lose their minds? Well, there are a few reasons.
The motorized, hands-free scooter that also resembles a free-standing Segway looks irresistible to kids, and especially to teen skateboarders, on paper. The hoverboard, produced by several manufacturers, was priced at anywhere from $300 to over $500 before Christmas and requires cat-like reflexes to master. For many kids, this pricey toy was the only item on their Christmas list. But as parents learned the hard way when searching for this hot holiday toy, hoverboards were almost impossible to find in the weeks leading up to Christmas — big box retailers like Target and Walmart sold out, and Amazon made no guarantees that the item would arrive before Christmas Day.
For the lucky kids of the stealthy parents who were able to snag the battery-powered board in time, they were in for an even bigger surprise: Many of the hoverboard warnings were true. Even parents weren’t exempt from the board’s dangers as they decided to hop on and try it for themselves. These cringe-worthy but hilarious videos of parents getting injured on the hoverboard are becoming a cautionary tale as they go viral on social media.
OK, so the parents filming their hoverboard fails didn’t really take the necessary safety precautions by wearing pads and helmets, but it’s still hard not to sympathize when you see fellow parents with bumps, bruises, and sprained arms flooding Facebook and Twitter. (Yes, parents have even landed in the hospital after particularly nasty hoverboard spills.)
Even Mike Tyson himself, former professional boxer and father of nine, proved no parent is safe when he uploaded this recent video on Instagram:
Besides the major mom and dad wipeouts, hoverboards appear to have a mind of their own. Amidst the hundreds of photos and videos of hoverboard injuries, there are also news reports of hoverboards that have caught fire and exploded. Yesterday, Houston’s Deerbrook Mall was evacuated after a hoverboard exploded and ignited in its box. And over the weekend, another hoverboard burst into flames while it was charging in a New Jersey home.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating the cause of these random hoverboard fires that may be related to some defective lithium batteries used to power the self-balancing scooters. But the bad news is that exploding hoverboards may be hard to avoid. All of the combusting hoverboards have come from different manufacturers and have caught fire under different circumstances, causing at least seven major airlines to ban them from their flights. (Suddenly, the whole pre-Christmas Bunchems disaster doesn’t look so bad.)
As is the case with most in-demand toys, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye — or catches on fire. But as funny as these viral videos may be, what’s going on with the hoverboard really isn’t a laughing matter. A toy that’s been known to send people to the ER and even cause possible house fires is turning out to be more trouble than it’s worth.
It looks like our Back to the Future dreams aren’t coming true anytime soon, and most parents are chalking this up to another lesson learned. The next time your kids beg for the most popular Christmas gift, it doesn’t hurt to do a little Googling first to see what kind of warnings come with the toy.More On