Exploding Fitbit Injures Woman’s Arm

Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Fitbit Allegedly Causes Second-Degree Burns on Woman’s Arm

A Wisconsin woman alleges that her Fitbit 2 fitness tracker exploded and set her arm on fire, The New York Post reported. The woman said she owned the Fitbit for two weeks when it caught fire while she was reading a book, ABC News reported.

“I was literally just sitting and reading when my Fitbit exploded,” she told ABC News. “It was either defective or really mad I was sitting still so long.… I don’t know. Either way, It burned the heck out of my arm.” The next day she was treated for second-degree burns, news station KTRK reported. She said she had no reason to suspect that there was anything wrong with the device prior to the alleged malfunction, according to The New York Post.

The woman told Local2 TV that she had been reading when “the bracelet melted and I got pieces of plastic burned into my arm…. I’m going to have a scar from this probably. Can you imagine what it would do to a child?” USA today reported.

The woman told ABC News in a recent emailed statement that, “I was literally just sitting and reading when my Fitbit exploded..” The woman said that she tore the Fitbit off of her arm because it continued to burn. Her physician had to pick out pieces of plastic and rubber out of her arm, the woman alleged. An emergency care provider in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area told ABC News affiliate KTRK that the woman was treated the day after she said the incident occurred. The woman said she received the Fitbit as a birthday gift and that Fitbit offered her a free replacement device when she notified the company about the apparent malfunction.

Fitbit warnings include a statement that the devices have “electrical equipment that could cause injury if not handled properly.” The company just announced it intends to investigate the incident, according to The New York Post. In a statement emailed to USA Today, Fitbit indicated that it had spoken with the woman, writing that, “We are extremely concerned about” the woman’s “report regarding her Flex 2 and take it very seriously, as the health and safety of our customers is our top priority,” the statement read. “Fitbit products are designed and produced in accordance with strict standards and undergo extensive internal and external testing to ensure the safety of our users.” Fitbit added that “We are not aware of any other complaints of this nature and see no reason for people to stop wearing their Flex 2.”

For it part, Fitbit maintains that it is safe to wear or purchase its Flex 2 fitness tracker, according to USA Today.

Fitbit now disputes the woman’s allegation that her Fitbit tracker exploded on its own. ABC News reported. Fitbit, which is based in San Francisco, California, recently indicated that following its investigation, the fitness tracker did not malfunction. “Based on our initial investigation, including testing of her device by a leading third-party failure analysis firm, we have concluded that” the “Fitbit Flex 2 did not malfunction,” a Fitbit spokesperson told ABC News. “The testing shows that external forces caused the damage to the device.” The spokesperson continued, “We have not received any other complaints of this nature and we want to assure our customers that they can continue to enjoy their Flex 2 and all Fitbit products with confidence.”

The slim $99.95 Flex 2 swim-proof band was released in the fall and contains a small lithium-polymer battery, according to USA Today.

Prior Fitbit Recall, Issues

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a Fitbit Force recall in March 2014, describing the device as a wireless activity tracking wristband. The issue involved that users may develop allergic reactions to the stainless steel casing, materials used in the device’s strap, or adhesives that were used in the assembly or the Fitbit Force. Users may develop redness, rashes, or blisters where the skin became in contact with the Fitbit Force.

Approximately 1,000,000 units were recalled in the United States; 28,000 were recalled in Canada with model numbers FB402BK, FB402BKS, FB402SL, and FB402SLS. The recalled Fitbit wristband operates as a pedometer, sleep monitor, and watch, according to the CPSC. The device is manufactured of plastic with a stainless steel casing and clasp, a small LED display screen flush with the top side of the band, and a control button on one side of the band. The wristband is approximately ¾-inch wide and was manufactured in large and small sizes and in black or slate. The model number is found on the back of the recalled wristband under the charging port.

According to the CPSC announcement, Fitbit received approximately 9,900 reports at the time of the recall of the wristband causing skin irritation and about 250 reports of blistering. The recalled Fitbit devices were sold at AT&T, Best Buy, Brookstone, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Radio Shack, REI, Sports Authority, Target, and other stores nationwide, and also online at Amazon.com and Fitbit.com from October 2013 to February 2014 for about $130. The devices were manufactured in China and imported by Fitbit Inc., of San Francisco.

Following the recall of the Fitbit Force. The manufacturer avoided another recall by agreeing to warn consumers about potential allergens, according to a Slash Gear report issued October 2014. Fitbit reached an agreement with the CPSC, which led to the Fitbit Flex packaging to display a warning about the device containing nickel. Just prior to the re-packaging, numerous Fitbit Force owners reported developing rashes and blistering on their wrists due to materials in the strap and stainless steel on the activity tracker. The New York Times reported that the CPSC determined that another recall was not needed as long as Fitbit implemented the nickel allergen warning. Fitbit also updated the sizing guide to help prevent users from wearing the wristbands too tightly.

Fitbit CEO & co-founder James Park also posted information to the company’s website containing the same information and apologized to affected customers. The CEO also noted that Fitbit intended on learning from its recent issues and would work to ensure future Fitbit products do not led to skin allergies.

Have You Been Injured by a Fitbit Device?

If you or someone you know has sustained an injury involving a Fitbit device, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. The Parker Waichman personal injury law firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).