Citing media coverage of several recent fire incidents, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued a series of safety tips urging hover board owners to read product guidelines and be aware of potential fire hazards when using these trendy devices.

“It seems hover boards are the hottest holiday gifts on the planet this year. A number of media outlets reporting fire incidents is cause for caution to avoid Christmas wishes going up in smoke,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. Part toy, part transportation, the self-balancing scooters first seen in the movie Back to the Future, can pose a fire risk.

Carli said NFPA has received requests for hover board fire safety tips and any relevant information on Lithium-Ion batteries. “These are fairly new to the mass market and there isn’t a lot we know about them. The best advice we can offer is to read all manufacturer’s guidelines - particularly those that apply to charging hover boards – and to follow some additional fire safety guidelines.”

NFPA offers the following tips to keep the holidays fire-safe. There is also a customizable safety tip sheet.

If you purchase a hover board:

  • Choose a device with the seal of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Read and follow all manufacturer directions.  If you do not understand the directions, ask for help.
  • An adult should be responsible for charging the hover board.
  • Do not leave a charging hover board unattended. 
  • Never leave the hover board plugged in overnight.
  • Only use the charging cord that came with the hover board.
  • Stop using your hover board if it overheats.
  • Extreme hot or cold temperature can hurt the battery. 
  • Be on the lookout for product updates from manufacturers and safety groups. 

Many airlines have banned hover boards. If you plan to fly with a hover board, be sure to check with your air carrier.

When riding in a car, keep the hover board where you can see it in case it shows signs of a problem.

Signs of a Problem:

  • Some hover board fires have involved the Lithium-Ion battery or charger. Signs you may have a problem:
  • Leaking fluids
  • Excessive heat
  • Odor
  • Sparking
  • Smoke

If you notice any of these signs, stop using the device right away. Call 9-1-1. If safe to do so, move the hover board outside away from anything that can burn.

If you have had a fire or injury event involving a hover board, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.