29 December, 2015
Hoverboards were among the most popular Christmas gifts of 2015. They may have also been most dangerous gifts of 2015.
A true hoverboard looks like a skateboard without wheels. To "hover" means to float in the air without moving much in any direction. The popularity of hoverboards began in the 1980s, with the "Back to the Future" movies. Characters in the second and third films used hoverboards as transportation.
This year's popular hoverboards, however, do not actually hover. They have wheels. And, as it turns out, they are not easy to use.
Adults and children around the world suffered hoverboard-related injuries over the weekend. Many posted pictures of the damage on social media. As a result, the hashtag #hoverboardfails trended on Twitter.
Twitter user David Douglas posted a photo of both him and a young girl with casts for the broken arms they suffered on Christmas Day.
Falling is not the only risk with some hoverboards. They are also a fire risk. At one store in Texas, an employee tried to fix a defective hoverboard a customer brought in. The hoverboard then caught fire.
Studies suggest that some hoverboard brands have faulty batteries or plugs.
Many major airlines worldwide have banned hoverboards because of the fire risk. But some passengers did not hear the news. Australian actor Russell Crowe tweeted on Monday about his disappointment that Virgin Australia Airlines did not permit his children to take their hoverboards on the plane.
Major retailers are also taking steps to improve the safety of the hoverboards they sell. Amazon in the United States now only sells hoverboards from brands that have submitted safety standard documents.
The UK's Amazon no longer sells actual hoverboards. It has also advised customers who bought unsafe brands of hoverboards to throw them away.
And that's What's Trending Today.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
Words in This Story
skateboard - n. a short board that is on wheels and that a person stands on to move along a surface or to perform tricks
cast - n. a hard covering that is put on an arm, leg, etc., so that a broken bone can heal
defective - adj. having a problem or fault that prevents something from working correctly
submit - v. to give (a document, proposal, piece of writing, etc.) to someone so that it can be considered or approved