Hoverboards -- Fires Under Investigation and the Safety Tips You Need to Know This Holiday Season

Buyers with safety concerns can call Consumer Product Safety Commission.

ByABC News
December 13, 2015, 7:38 PM

— -- Hoverboards -- the futuristic-looking, electric powered hands-free skateboards -- are hot gifts this holiday season, but some consumers have made visits to the emergency room after using the popular product. A spokesman from the Consumer Product Safety Commission provided some recommended safety tips to know before buying one for yourself or as a gift.

First, the risks: fires and falls.

The CPSC is investigating 10 hoverboard-related fire incidents in nine states -- Washington, California, New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Maryland -- CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson told ABC News. The CPSC has already begun testing on various hoverboard makes and models to determine the fires' causes, Wolfson said.

In the past three weeks, the CPSC has received more than 30 reports of emergency room-level injuries related to hoverboards. "A couple" of those emergency room visits were related to fires, but the vast majority were general-use injuries, like falls, resulting in some serious injuries head and arm trauma, Wolfson said.

The CPSC's hoverboard investigation is a high priority, Wolfson said, because the boards have become such popular holiday gifts.

"If a new incident arises, the chairman [of the CPSC, Elliot Kaye] has made it clear that we're going to open additional investigations right away," Wolfson told ABC News. "We're asking consumers to tell us, tell the government, if you experience any sort of safety problem with the hoverboard."

Wolfson also revealed to ABC News several safety precautions that consumers can take.

Wolfson recommends wearing a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads.

"We really want consumers to view their hoverboard like a skateboard in terms of gearing up," he said.

Next, do not charge a hoverboard overnight or when you're out of your home. A number of the fire incidents "supposedly happened during the charging stage," Wolfson said.

If you're giving a hoverboard as a gift, don't take the board out of the packaging to charge it completely and then put it back in the packaging to wrap it.

"They come partially charged," Wolfson said. "Leave it in that state."

You should also buy from reputable sources. Wolfson recommends avoiding mall kiosks and websites that are unfamiliar.