Playing with remote-controlled helicopters and airplanes can be fun, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is concerned about an emerging fire hazard from the battery technology being used with these toys. CPSC is urging consumers to follow manufacturerâ€™s instructions when charging toys that contain rechargeable lithium batteries.
Rechargeable lithium batteries (lithium-ion or lithium polymer) are increasingly being used in toys because the technology is lighter. However, rechargeable lithium batteries have a lot of energy in a small package, so consumers should use caution when charging and handling them. These batteries are charged with a transmitter or a charging adapter. Overcharging them can result in overheating, fire, and/or an explosion.
Since November 2007, CPSC has received 26 reports of remote-controlled helicopters igniting while being charged and one incident of a helicopter that ignited while flying. These reports involve minor burns and minor property damage.
“CPSC has received dozens of reports of incidents and injuries involving remote-controlled helicopters igniting,” said Nancy Nord, CPSC Acting Chairman. “We are urging consumers to follow simple safety tips to prevent future incidents and injuries.”
To promote the safe use of remote-controlled toys that contain rechargeable lithium batteries, CPSC recommends the following:
-Do not leave the toy unattended while charging it.
-Battery charging should be done by adults.
-Charge the toy on a non-flammable surface and keep it away from flammable items.
-Turn the charger off when the toy’s battery is charged, and always unplug it from the toy.
-Disconnect AC wall chargers from outlets while not in use.
-If the toy has been damaged, immediately stop use, unplug, and safely move the toy away from flammable materials.
-Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging the toy. Do NOT charge longer than recommended.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals - contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @OnSafety or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.