Earlier this month, a couple in Katy, Texas opened the door to their SUV to find a hole in the floor, areas of the passenger seat melted and the smell of burnt plastic. After asking the local fire marshal to investigate, they discovered one of the batteries on their 2-year-old son’s light-up shoes was charred to a crisp. Fire officials believe the shoe may have sparked the fire. Luckily, no one was injured.
Light-up shoes are fairly popular among younger children. The lights turn on and off as the child jumps, skips or runs around, which makes them a neat accessory for children. However, this incident does raise the question of whether light-up shoes are really safe for children to wear.
Child Light-Up Shoes are a Fire Hazard
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently claimed that hover boards, which are self-balancing and self-propelling scooters, pose an “unreasonable risk of fire.” There are at least 52 reported incidents where a hover board has ignited, causing roughly $2 million in property damage last holiday season. According to CNET.com, the toys did not meet safety requirements and put the users at risk for injuries and death. The source of the problem was lithium-ion batteries. Can you guess what powers child light-up shoes?
While the batteries are not strong enough to electrocute children, the shoe may generate a spark if the wires fray. The fraying of wires typically occurs with friction and given the amount of time children spend running around, it is no surprise these wires frayed and ignited a fire. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries are known to be faulty after an extended period of time, but children are typically expected to outgrow the sneakers before the battery reaches that point. However, this is a bad assumption to make when the product can potentially cause injuries.
Under the doctrine of product liability, when products contain dangerous design defects such as faulty lithium-ion batteries, it is the responsibility of the companies involved in the creation and marketing of the products to recall them to prevent injuries. Some brands of faulty hover boards have been recalled, and Payless, the company that sells the light-up shoes, has recalled the line of sneakers that started the car fire in Texas.