Government Site-Based Research on Charger Injury: Impactful Numbers, High Consequences

Saferproducts.gov is a publicly available information database under the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Reports are made voluntarily by the public, child care workers, health care workers, or government officials, on incidences with specific products involving injury, harm, or concern. The site also reports on product recalls in connection with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Brands have the opportunity to respond to complaints before they are posted online.

Charger Electric Shock Database

Geddy’s Mom Co-Founder Dr. Sarah Shell performed a search on saferproducts.gov involving USB chargers that caused injury to individuals. Criteria for this search included that the USB charger not be plugged in to a receptacle device but does remain plugged in to a power outlet. Location of charger that caused the harm was narrowed to the connector end (the free end).

Over a 3 year period, Geddy’s Mom’s search found 20 incidences, including 1 product recall. While this number may not seem glaring, recall that these reports are voluntarily made by consumers and require the knowledge as to where to report and how to report, as well as the time and effort involved in carrying out the reporting. They do not include data submitted from hospitals to NEISS (see our NEISS study results). Reporters do not receive benefits for reporting, aside from the knowledge that they are potentially protecting future consumers. Additionally, our search criteria was incredibly narrow. Therefore Dr. Cohen and Dr. Shell, co-founders of Geddy’s Mom, find this number and the specific reports themselves very impactful. See below for a description of some of the incidences reported.

Electric Shock Injury Reports

A 2019 case report involved an Anker USB-C charger purchased on amazon.com. The report states “the USB-C connector of a USB3-to-USBC cable heated, melted, and caught on fire while connected to an ordinary USB charger for mobile devices, which was plugged into an ordinary 120v electrical wall outlet. At the time, the cable was NOT connected to any device.” The victim was 17 years old. See images below that were attached to the case file:

A 2018 report from a 48 year old male victim reads “…the USB-C connector which interfaces with the phone fell to to the carpet which was normal”. He proceeded to explain how he continued his normal morning schedule but ran back to the charger when he smelled something concerning. He found “…the charger connector had melted and burned the carpet and was smoking. This is the Huawei factory charger which came with my Nexus 6P Phone”. See image to the right that the victim posted to the report:

A 2017 report by a 28 year old female states in regard to an Onn brand USB cable purchased at Walmart “…I accidentally touched the plug where it connects into my iPhone 7 Plus. It was BURNING hot.” The image she attached to the report is on the right.

NEISS Study Limitations

These reports would have been found in the NEISS study (summary of study in a previous blog post), had an injury resulted that required the victims to go to one of the 100 hospitals on the NEISS database, and the ER doctor have had the time and interest in recording it in the NEISS database.

Our research further substantiates the hazard of household USB chargers. The potential for harm and extent of harm is clearly identifiable based on these incident reports and the attached images.

Dr. Sarah Shell
Co-Founder, Inventor, and Researcher
Geddy’s Mom LLC


Contact us today to learn more about how you can protect your child from electrical shocks.

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