Google has initiated the recall of a million Fitbit Ionic devices after receiving reports of burns ranging from first- to third-degree from overheating batteries. The Ionic was in production from 2017 to 2020 and sold for approximately $300.
115 reports of overheating battery events have been received in the United States. 78 have been tied to injuries including four claims of second-degree burns and two users reporting having suffered third-degree burns from the devices. The company has asked all Ionic users to immediately stop wearing their watches and make arrangements to return them to Fitbit. Packaging is being provided, as is a refund of the entire purchase price. Customers choosing to stay with Fitbit for their next device will also receive a 40% discount off the purchase of certain new smartwatches from the company.
From batteries to beverages, burns are a constant threat to consumers and the damage these burns can cause can be severe. Dunkin’, Starbucks, and McDonald’s have all been on the receiving end of lawsuits after consumers were burned by extraordinarily hot beverages that were not properly sealed in their containers. In one of the most egregious cases, a woman was openly mocked by employees at a Plymouth, Massachusetts Dunkin’ location after she was burned so badly in her car that her only option was to rush out of the vehicle and publicly remove her leggings. Rather than coming to her aid, the employees watched and began “pointing, laughing, and mocking” her. Her lawyer described the employees’ behavior as “extreme and outrageous, beyond all possible bounds of decency and utterly intolerable in a civilized society.”
Batteries have also been in the news over concerns that the high-powered electronics in some vaping devices were overheating and causing severe injuries. While some of the incidents could have been avoided with proper handling of the batteries, the injuries sustained in these cases can be severe and require surgery.