Segway and Hoverboard Safety

Child Safety Basics

Keep in mind the 100 pound minimum weight requirement when letting your kids ride a Segway PT.
Keep in mind the 100 pound minimum weight requirement when considering letting your kids ride a Segway PT.. Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

The Segway Personal Transporter (PT) is designed as a "safe, clean transport that benefits the environment." But with their two wheels, gyroscopic sensors, dynamic stabilization system and electric motors, many people find them fun to ride.

And probably so will your kids and their friends.

Segways for Kids?

The Segway PT isn't designed for children, though.

In fact, the Segway Reference Manual clearly states that the minimum weight for riders should be 100 pounds for both the Segway i2 and Segway x2 models.

Reviewing the growth charts that is about the average weight for a 13-year-old child.

The concern with the minimum weight limit is that kids under 100 pounds may not be able to slow down or stop their Segway PT, since you have to shift your weight back to stop. Also, the Segway Reference Manual states that "riders below the minimum weight limit might fail to properly interact with the Segway PT's balancing system."

Segway Safety

In safety studies, the Segway PT compares favorably to bicycles, mopeds, and electric scooters.

It is likely much safer than a dirt bike, ATV (all-terrain vehicle), or go-kart, if you consider all of the "fun" things that your kids would probably like to ride.

To be safe on a Segway PT, especially if you are letting your kids ride, it is best to:

  • Always wear a properly fitting helmet when riding.
  • Start your kids out in "Turtle" mode, a low speed beginner mode.
  • Have an experienced rider teach you how to ride, turn, and stop, and spot you while your ride for the first five or 10 minutes and until you get the hang of it.
  • Teach kids not to "push" your Segway PT past its limits, such as by continuing to lean forward when you get a Speed Limiter Alert, continuing to ride when you get a Stick Shake Warning or riding on steep slopes and slippery surfaces.

And of course, always supervise kids so that they don't take extra risks while riding and make sure that they stay away from traffic and hills.

Hoverboard Safety

And as soon as we got used to trying to keep kids safe and away from Segways, we got kids getting hurt on hoverboards.

Of course, these hoverboards don't really hover.

Instead, they look like mini- or hands-free versions of a Segway.

Unfortunately, hoverboards have been known to:

  • explode
  • cause fall injuries

There are so many injuries and visits to hospitals that the CPSC is investigating "spikes in children and adults being admitted after suffering serious falls."

Do your kids have a hoverboard?

If they do, make sure that you:

  • Have a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using your hoverboards in and around your home in case it explodes.
  • Charge it in an open area away from combustible materials in case it explodes.
  • Have your kids gear up before riding, which means putting on a skateboard helmet, elbow and knee pads and wrist guards.
  • Do not let your kids use a hoverboard on or near a road.


Segway Reference Manual.

Segway Getting Started Manual.

CPSC. Statement from U.S. CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye on the Safety of Hoverboards and the Status of the Investigation. January 20, 2016.

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