When we talk tech, advancement is what comes to the minds of most… which then makes it sad that the very same thing we celebrate much, is the very same thing that can cause more damage than we can ever fathom.
An 11 year old from kwaZvimba is reported to have suffered serious injuries following a cell phone battery explosion. The boy is said to have been experimenting with the battery while trying to make a toy car for his little brother.
The boy suffered some serious burns on his stomach, face and hand – where he is reported to have lost 3 of his fingers. He is also said to have lost his sight in one of his eyes.
Well, I do not know what type of battery he was using or any further details really, wouldn’t want to be insensitive and start asking his father such questions at such a time (you can get more information on the ZBC blog). However, I just thought I could use this opportunity to issue out a few warnings and recommendations on battery safety.
Besides, I chose to write about it because the young boy reminds me of someone I know…someone on the Techzim team actually. I think despite the tragic outcome of this particular experiment, I see a prodigy in the boy. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on the news again a few more years from now; not for sympathy, but rather to give us the same feeling that Elon gives us every time he launches something.
So now back to the topic: What should you know about mobile battery safety?
1. All rechargeable batteries (lithium-ion) are capable of exploding.
2. Do not take battery explosion for granted – I know if you’ve never read of how serious a battery explosion can be/is, it’s easy to just dismiss it as trivial; but hopefully this little boy’s experience amongst many others will help you see otherwise.
3. Don’t recharge your battery using just about any charger – I know the temptation of just buying a charger on the streets is high, but try to overcome it and just buy the appropriate charger for your particular phone.
4. No matter how old or useless you think a battery is, do not give it to a kid to play with…ever! Not only to kids but unless you’re really sure of what you’re doing, you might want to take that advice yourself.
5. Do not trash mobile phone, camera, laptop or any other lithium based batteries along with the rest of your trash, you might be safe but every other person who will then handle it is at the risk of having the battery explode on them or coming into contact with the harmful chemicals (particularly heavy metals such as lead, mercury, or cadmium) that the batteries contain.
6. When your phone starts heating, apart from then terminating the heavy apps (or just numerous apps) that are running, cool it off using water if it’s water resistant. If not, then try placing it on a cool surface outside of a case to allow the heat to be transferred to the cooler surface. If that doesn’t help, you might want to consider turning it off for a while until it cools off.
7. When charging your phone, place it on an open surface. Avoid placing it on your bed and letting it charge while you sleep. The blankets are the least coolest place hey.
8. Once the battery is full, it is advisable that you remove your phone from the charger (it’s applicable to some older phone models as recent smartphones are able to stop charging the battery once it’s full and use the incoming power as their primary source of power if it’s still plugged in).