Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

'Hoverboard' safety a concern

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Neill Kane rides his 'hoverboard' on Christmas morning.

'Tis the season for buying the most popular Christmas gift for your kids, husband, wife, or cousin and then posting a pic or video of them wiping out on social media. At least that's what happened in 2015 with the season's most in demand gift: the hoverboard.

Hoverboards - otherwise known as self-balancing scooters or "swegways" - are electric two-wheeled ride-on devices, which cost from about $200 to as much as $2,400.

Even before Christmas Day, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a statement warning consumers of a fire hazard for the motorized ride on toy.

But gravity may be a bigger danger than fire when operating the futuristic looking skateboard. As countless videos showcasing painful looking falls circulate online, health professionals are encouraging everyone to follow operating instructions to ensure a safe, and pain free ride.

He hasn't personally operated a hoverboard but, physical therapist and owner of Urban Physical Therapy Oleg Urban has watched a few of the viral videos. While he admits they look "interesting," following instruction on how to operate and ride a hoverboard is likely the key to a wipe-out free experience.

"If you take the proper precautions, it appears to be perfectly safe for kids." Urban continues, "I would however caution some adults. In some cases, a fall could mean broken bones or sprains."

Less than one week since Christmas, there have been 70 reports of emergency room visits due to hoverboards, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

While hoverboard injuries can put a cloud over Christmas festivities, ER director for University Medical Center Audra Jants says it's important to follow guidelines while operating ALL new gadgets or toys.

"Although we have not specifically seen an increase in 'hoverboard' related injuries or an increase in holiday related injuries, it is important for parents to be mindful of safety measures such as helmets, arm and knee pads, and warning labels on new toys."

Writer Becky Andrews may be contacted at

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