Safety tips to prevent battery explosions and fires this holiday season

posted on:
December 1, 2016

William Sutton

It is a festive time of year for many. A time to enjoy decorations adorning homes, shopping centers and city landscapes. The time of year when the latest and greatest gadgets eagerly await, and start flying off store shelves to become holiday gifts of cheer.

Most of these gifts and decorations will be powered by lithium-ion batteries. The recent news stories about exploding lithium-ion batteries in devices such as smartphones, electronic cigarettes and hoverboards should spark caution throughout this season. These fiery incidents remind consumers that regardless of size, batteries can be dangerous.

Flameless candles are the latest item on a growing list of exploding devices powered by lithium-ion batteries. Marketed as safer alternatives to traditional wax candles, these devices are frequent substitutes in many decorations. A community center in one small Canadian town witnessed the damage even a dime-size lithium-ion battery can do under the right conditions. The center had to temporarily close after a decorative flameless candle caught fire and damaged part of the building.

Experts recommend the following tips to keep the holiday season happy and bright:

  • Read the owner or operator’s manual for any product purchased.
  • Use the battery and battery charger that comes with the device. The device, battery and charger were specifically designed to work together. Never use a third party charger, which may be cheaper, but could also be dangerous.
  • Never store batteries with exposed positive or negative leads.
  • Before disposal, always cover the battery in plastic tape to avoid possible short circuits.
  • Always recycle batteries properly.
  • Keep all batteries out of the reach of children. Swallowing or mishandling a battery could be fatal.

If you would like more information about lithium-ion batteries, you can contact Will Sutton, a lawyer in Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email at

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