Did you know that your cell phone can explode? Seriously. People can be hurt or killed by all sorts of defective products, including some ordinary household objects.
Take, for instance, lithium ion batteries – which can be surprisingly lethal.
Also known as Li-ion batteries, these are the batteries used in smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. They are widely used because they are small in size and pack a large amount of energy. Another advantage is that they are easily recharged.
But Li-ion batteries can be dangerous. They can malfunction and overheat if pounded, pierced or placed too close to some types of metal. Users can be severely burned.
Some laptop computers have even erupted in flames because of a defective Li-ion battery.
Growing Awareness of Li-ion Battery Dangers
Manufacturers and retailers have taken note of the hazards. Close to 6 million Li-ion battery packages for Dell and Apple computers were recalled in the wake of numerous reports of problems.
Alkaline batteries – which have powered our tools, toys and appliances for decades – are relatively stable and safe. Li-ion batteries are more volatile, especially when subjected to rough handling.
The hazards of Li-ion batteries have drawn the attention of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
While commending manufacturers for improving the safety of wireless devices and batteries in recent years, the CPSC has also warned consumers about the potential for burns, fires and explosions.
10 Tips for Avoiding a Smartphone Battery Blow-up
Recently, the CPSC issued a set of consumer guidelines for the safe use of mobile devices, batteries and chargers.
Here are some of those recommendations:
- Keep the instructions and any brochures that came with your device. Hang on to this information for future reference.
- Use only chargers, batteries and other components that are compatible with the make and model of your device. Buy them only from reliable retailers. Some components that are sold online are knockoffs and shoddily made.
- Buy only products that are specifically recommended by the manufacturer. If you do not know whether a replacement battery or an accessory is safe to use with your particular device, get in touch with the manufacturer.
- Keep loose batteries away from metal objects – including coins, keys, rings and watches – that can interfere with the electrical functioning of the device. Likewise, never put a Li-ion battery on or near a hot surface like a stove or heater.
- Do not mishandle the battery. If the battery is damaged it may short circuit and overheat.
- Be careful not to let your phone fall to a hard surface like a sidewalk or street.
- If you think your battery has been damaged, have it inspected by a qualified technician.
- Do not let your battery get wet. Be careful using your phone while in the bathtub or near a sink.
- When you recharge your battery, be sure to carefully follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.
- If a cell phone battery or computer causes injury, the manufacturer may be held responsible for selling a defective product.
Have you had any issues with your cell phone or do you have additional tips that I forgot to mentioned? Comments are always welcome!