A smartboard for Christmas? Read this first

Major airlines have banned them for travel.

HOUSTON - What do you do it you're one of the thousands of consumers who bought a hoverboard, one of the hottest holiday items that can get a little too hot?

Videos of exploding hoverboards are spreading like wildfire across the internet including one filmed by a family in Northwest Harris County.

Amazon has stopped selling most of the brands and Overstock.com isn't selling any.

Yan Yao, an assistant professor of mechanical and computer engineering at the University of Houston, explained that the problem is the lithium ion batteries.

"Lithium batteries are so great because they are small, they are light and pack a lot of energy," Yao explained. "But at the same time they come with a problem; the risk which is catching fire."

The hoverboards aren't only on Christmas lists but no fly lists too; Delta, American and United have banned the boards, saying they're too dangerous for transport.

Yao says the cheaper the battery the greater the risk.

"Go with a more reliable brand and the higher quality batteries," said Yao. "The mechanical stress will also damage the batteries and cause the failures. Users who have a board should try to be gentle when they use it. [Try] not to make sharp turns."

According to Yao, the chance of the batteries combusting when they're not in use is unlikely; however, users should be careful not to overcharge the batteries and the boards should be used under supervision.

Anyone who is still uneasy about the boards can try to return them. Amazon.com is one retailer who says consumers can return them for a refund.

Currently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the hoverboards and recommends that users do not to charge it overnight or unsupervised during the day. Consumers are asked to report incidents at www.saferproducts.gov.


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