PARENTS in Edinburgh are being warned against buying self-balancing scooters – or “hover-boards” – after tests found some of them to be unsafe.
With families preparing to hit the shops in the run-up to Christmas, Edinburgh-based trading standards officers are checking boards which they find in shops and have asked anyone who has bought one to contact them for advice.
Their warning comes after tests carried out on more than 17,000 scooters at UK ports since October found that 88 per cent were not fit for use.
Unlike the device famously used by Marty McFly in Back to the Future films, the hover-boards detained and sent for testing have been found to have non-compliant plugs without fuses, which increases the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire.
There have also been problems with cabling, chargers, batteries or the cut-off switches within the board, which often fail.
Councillor Cammy Day, community safety leader, said: “A lot of work goes into protecting consumers in Edinburgh from buying counterfeit and dangerous goods but at Christmas, irresponsible manufacturers and criminals attempt to flood the market.
“Shoppers need to be cautious, particularly if they are buying electrical items and toys.
“If you are buying a hoverboard, make sure the item bears the CE mark and take a look at the plug. Is it similar to other items in your home? Unusually shaped or undersized plugs can often be a sign that the product isn’t what it seems.”
Parent leaders have voiced concern at the city council’s warning. Naomi Crowley, of Broughton High parent council, said: “I don’t think I will be buying one – from the sound of it these aren’t very safe.
“If the council is telling you that it’s going to explode then you would think most parents would pay attention to that.
“But there’s a lot of pressure from advertising and from kids pressurising their parents into buying them certain toys.”
She added: “As a parent, I don’t go over the top at Christmas.
“I research it and try to get something that’s worthwhile and which will last. If something is dangerous then I would not buy it for my child, and I would be able to explain that to my child.”
Susan Heron, of Castlebrae Community High parent council, who also manages the Venchie children’s project in Craigmillar, said: “Parents should heed warnings and if I had a child of an age suitable to use such a board I would not be buying it.”
Anyone seeking advice on the scooters can contact the city’s trading standards team on 0131 529 3030 or 0345 404 0506.