A nine-year-old boy suffered severe burns and his vision was seriously affected when a mobile phone exploded while he answered an incoming call on the device while it was on charge-mode.
A class four student, Dhanush attended the call at his home at Maduranthakam near here when the mobile phone was getting charged on January 29 night, hospital authorities said.
No sooner had he attended the call, it exploded, resulting in severe burns to his right hand, face and eyes.
The parents took the boy to the Chengalpattu Government Hospital and later to Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital for treating his burn injuries.
Doctors said the boy had suffered first and second degree burns on his hand and face. Subsequently, he was admitted to the Government Ophthalmic Hospital here. While the right eye's cornea was damaged, the globe of the left eye was ruptured.
"The intensity of the blast not only damaged his right cornea it also ruptured the globe of his left eye, the right hand that was used by the boy to hold the phone suffered serious burns," Director, Regional Institute of Ophthmaology and Government Ophthamic Hospital, Dr Waheeda Nazir told PTI.
She said a patch was grafted from a cadaver donor cornea on the boy's right eye and the left eye was sutured to shape up the globe.
"It (blast) also led to formation of cataract on his right eye, he is now doing fine, he would have to be in hospital for three more weeks," she said to a query.
Why cell phones explode
Cell phone blasts are often reported by the media- from severe injuries caused to the victims to electrocution and even death in one case. One of the reasons why cell phones explode is said to be the use of batteries or chargers which are not the original product, but fake ones.
Several reports quoting experts suggest that cheap cell phone batteries often bloat on being overcharged and are more likely to explode when used simultaneously while on charge.
A report in The Times of India states that "Charging puts pressure on the motherboard of the phone, using it during charging increases this pressure manifold. This causes the cheap electronic components in some mobiles to explode'. The report adds that certain malware or bug found in Android smartphones can also cause the phone to blast during charging.
In another case of a reported cell phone explosion, a 14-year-old nearly lost his eye. Ankit Chowdhary, who works with the hardware of mobile phones, told Bangalore Mirror that cheap components and sub standard components were to be blamed for such mishaps. "The circuit in cheap chargers cannot handle electricity efficiently. The batteries are made of lithium iron, which may explode in such cases. In case of cheaper products, even minute fluctuations could lead to such accidents," he told the paper.
According to a report in Geek, "A defective or improperly-handled battery can overheat, causing the cells to break open and result in a chain reaction of other cells rupturing. This is called thermal runaway, and it's the cause of most battery explosions and, less dramatically, battery swelling. The defect can be a simple short circuit, or a design defect that improperly insulates individual cells from the heat of neighbors. That's what causes cell phones and laptops to catch fire on rare occasions."
A report by Mashable titled 5 Phone Charging Myths, Debunked states that it is okay to use a phone while it is charging "as long as you're not using a sketchy third-party charger". A manufacturer-approved charger and battery should be just fine.
Android Pit in a report notes down a few tips to prevent any 'unexpected battery combustion problems'.
-Use an original battery or well-known replacement brands. "It may be cheaper to buy cheap batteries, but consider how much you pay for your phone and how much you like your apartment in one piece".
-Devices should not be kept in hot areas, especially while charging. "Ambient temperatures affect batteries a lot."
-"If your phone is charging or you are using functions that cause it to heat up a lot, make sure you are using it in a ventilated place," the report states.