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Statement from U.S. PIRG Toxics Advocate Dev Gowda on recent hoverboard-related deaths
“Last month, a fatal accident occurred at a Harrisburg, PA home when a hoverboard that was charging apparently overheated and caused a fire, tragically killing a 3-year-old girl just hours after the fire. While the incident is still currently under investigation, the fire also resulted in two other deaths, the 10-year old sister of the child, as well as firefighter, Lt. Dennis DeVoe, who was in a car crash on his way to the house fire.
“This would be the first reported case of a fatal fire caused by hoverboards, which were the subject of one of the most well-known recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) over the past year, with over 500,000 units recalled in July 2016. Certain models contained lithium-ion battery packs that could overheat, which could lead to the products smoking, catching fire, or even exploding. In the United States, burns and fires are leading causes for unintentional deaths and injuries to children. According to the CPSC, there have been at least 99 incidents reports of the battery packs in hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire, or exploding.
“Last November, U.S. PIRG Education Fund highlighted hoverboards along with other toys that have been recalled over the past year in its annual report “Trouble in Toyland,” calling on consumers to check their homes for recalled toys and also pay attention to third-party online retailers who may still be selling toys that have been recalled.
“Hoverboard owners should check the CPSC’s website to see if their hoverboard was part of the recalled batch, and should also check their hoverboards to see if they include the “UL” certification sticker, and if appropriate, notify the manufacturer for a refund.
“Whether or not the hoverboard involved in this tragedy was part of the recall, the CPSC should take active steps to ensure that consumers are notified if they have purchased a recalled toy so we can prevent avoidable accidents in the future.”
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