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Watch out for those killer hoverboards.

Summary: Authorities call for banning it, say there's 1 hoverboard-related injury every week

Look around and you can spot the latest craze among youngsters - the self-balancing skateboards called hoverboards, or e-boards.

The fun self-balancing skateboards are gaining popularity across the globe and in the UAE, too. However, its use has led to quite a few injuries, with authorities in the country suggesting that on an average a child gets injured every week after falling off hoverboards.

A six-year-old Emirati riding a hoverboard was killed in Abu Dhabi in October last year after he was run over by a car.

Dr Mustafa Al Nashar, assistant manager for medical affairs, Saqr Hospital, told Khaleej Times: "Hoverboards are causing a significant rise in the number of injuries being reported among youngsters. One or even two patients with fractures are admitted to the emergency section of the hospital on a weekly basis."

The bodies concerned must either ban the use of "these dangerous battery-powered wheels" or force users to wear helmets as well as elbow and knee pads for protection.

"Most of the cases we receive are of arm and elbow factures after slipping off the self-balancing board," he said. "In many cases, youngsters deny falling off them, claiming they slipped while walking or playing."

A source at the Ras Al Khaimah Medical Zone told Khaleej Times that the emirate's hospitals received over 17 children and youths with minor and moderate hoverboard-related injuries over the last four months.

Most of the victims were aged between eight and 18 years, he said. "Children don't know how to shift their weight on the hoverboard to manage its movement."

The problem is that they are not aware of how to use these battery-powered two-wheelers, he added. "They fail to keep their balance, and also they ride it at wrong places, such as internal roads."

They can be fatal

The source said an 18-year-old boy from a neighbouring country was recently run over by a bus after he lost control over his hoverboard.

"These wheels are fun, but may turn into a deadly device if not used in a proper way, at a safe place, with due skills and enough training, and sometimes under the supervision and assistance of an adult."

Dr Essam Atta, manager at the GMC Hospital, told Khaleej Times that hoverboards must be banned. "These devices will make children lazier, more obese, and they may suffer muscular atrophy due to lack of exercise."

GMC hospital has received many cases of hoverboard-related injuries. "One of them had a serious brain concussion," he said.

Mahra bint Sarai, manager of health media department at the RAK Medical Zone, warned against the "haphazard use" of self-balancing wheels. "Youths and kids are obsessed with this new device and they want to ride it even without enough training." Apart from injuries in arms and legs, unskilled hoverboarders are also at risk of getting head injuries and prone to run-over accidents, she said.

The health media department will launch a campaign to create awareness among the youth about the risks of hoverboards, she said.

Banned in Dubai malls

Late in October last year, the Department of Economic Development, Dubai, had banned riding hoverboards in Dubai malls due to the growing number of complaints from residents as well as shopkeepers.

Abdul Aziz Al Tannak, director of commercial control at the department, urged mall visitors to adhere to the ban. "Parents are requested to prevent their children from using these devices in malls to avoid accidents and legal liability."

Authorities underlined that these boards can only be used at designated areas in parks

Where you can ride it

In Dubai, these boards can only be used at designated areas in parks. Its use is banned on roads, side roads, sports areas, jogging tracks and footpaths.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 3, 2016
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