Segway and Hoverboard Safety for Kids

Child having fun with an Two-wheel electric skate

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Segway's line of Ninebot KickScooters and related products are designed as a safe, clean mode of transportation that benefits the environment. But with their two wheels, gyroscopic sensors, dynamic stabilization system, and electric motors, many people find them fun to ride.

And probably so will your kids and their friends.

Segways for Kids?

Many Segway models (as well as related products like hoverboards) aren't designed for children. Additionally, there is a significant risk of injury with the use of these products.

So, before you buy (or let your child ride) a segway be sure to check the product specifications, as many are designed for adults and/or teens. For example, the Ninebot KickScooter ES1L is meant for people age 14 and older who weigh between 55 and 220 pounds.

The concern with the minimum weight limits is that kids under 55 pounds may not be able to slow down or stop their Segway because they have to shift their weight back to stop.

Also, another safety issue for riders below the minimum weight or age limits is that they might fail to properly interact with the product's balancing system.

Instead, purchase (or borrow) a product specifically designed for your child's age and weight. One option is the Segway miniLITE, which is intended for children age 6 and up who weigh under 80 kilograms (around 175 pounds).

Segway Safety

To be safe on a Segway, especially if you are letting your kids ride, it is best to:

  • Always read product instructions and follow their guidelines.
  • Always wear a properly fitting helmet when riding.
  • Have an experienced rider teach your child (or you) how to ride, turn, and stop, and spot them while riding for the first five or 10 minutes and until they get the hang of it.
  • Start your kids out in a low-speed beginner mode.
  • Teach kids not to "push" your Segway PT past its limits, such as by continuing to lean forward when you get a Speed Limiter Alert, continuing to ride when you get a Stick Shake Warning, or riding on steep slopes and slippery surfaces.
  • Use the product in a flat area empty of debris or other hazards (including cars, pedestrians, and bikers).

And of course, always supervise kids so that they don't take extra risks while riding and make sure that they stay away from traffic and hills.

Hoverboard Safety

Hoverboards are similar products that have great appeal for kids and adults—as well as significant safety concerns. Of course, these hoverboards don't really hover. Instead, they look like mini- or hands-free versions of a Segway.

Unfortunately, hoverboards have been known to:

  • Cause fall injuries
  • Overheat, explode, or catch fire

There are so many injuries and visits to hospitals that the CPSC is investigating "spikes in children and adults being admitted after suffering serious falls."

Do your kids have a hoverboard? If they do, make sure that you:

  • Charge it in an open area away from combustible materials in case it explodes.
  • Do not let your kids use a hoverboard on or near a road.
  • Have a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using your hoverboards in and around your home in case it explodes.
  • Have your kids gear up before riding, which means putting on a skateboard helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards.
  • Keep watch while it's being charged to prevent overheating and fire.
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Article Sources
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  1. Pourmand A, Liao J, Pines JM, Mazer-Amirshahi M. Segway® Personal Transporter-related injuries: a systematic literature review and implications for acute and emergency care. J Emerg Med. 2018;54(5):630-635. doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2017.12.019

  2. Segway-Ninebot. Safety instruction.

  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Statement from U.S. CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye on the Safety of Hoverboards and the Status of the Investigation. 2016.

  4. U.S. Consumer Product Safely Commission. Hoverboard Safety.