Stay safe on hoverboards, says Australian government, ahead of Christmas

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hoverboardsMelbourne : The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is urging consumers to choose safe products when shopping this Christmas. New and unfamiliar products are often introduced to the market at this time of year. Consumers may get caught in the Christmas rush and not take the time that they should to read instructions or warning labels.

The ACCC has identified two safety concerns with hoverboards, namely — fires that have occurred overseas from the faulty design of some hoverboard chargers, and user injuries through falls. Hoverboards have an in-built battery that is charged by connection to a mains power source. Electrical safety experts advise that fires, as reported, most likely relate to products that would not comply with Australian electrical requirements, or to the use of a charger meant for another device.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delka Richard said — If you are purchasing a hoverboard this Christmas, ensure that the packaging is marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle. The RCM signifies that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to ensure the product complies with electrical safety requirements. Overcharging noncompliant devices may cause overheating of the battery and result in a fire. Always use the approved battery charger that came with the product. If there are signs of damage near the battery do not charge the unit until the device is inspected by a professional. Hoverboard owners are advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly when using and charging their hoverboard. Adults should supervise the charging of all electrical devices for children.

As controlling the hoverboards relies entirely on balance, falls from hoverboards are highly likely. Injuries could include fractures, sprains, cuts, bruising, spinal injuries, head injuries and concussion. Users should ensure they use appropriate safety equipment, including a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. It is advisable to always wear shoes when riding a hoverboard.

In Australia, the rules about where you can ride a hoverboard vary between the states and territories – riders are strongly advised to check with their local traffic authorities or police before riding a hoverboard in a public place. The ACCC is currently assessing safety incidents associated with hoverboard products and is engaging with State and Territory consumer, electrical, and Road and Traffic authorities in that process.

Hoverboards, also known as self-balancing scooters, are electrical two-wheeled ride-on devices that are expected to be a popular gift this Christmas. The speed and steering of the hoverboard are controlled by subtle shifts of the rider’s weight.

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