Protect your child from escalator danger

Mummy and daddy carrying toddler on moving escalator
Photo credit: Unsplash

Depending on where your family lives, works, and shops, you may use escalators regularly and may not give it a second thought. Escalators are highly regulated and designed with many safety features that protect passengers. However, if not treated with respect and caution, they can be very dangerous pieces of equipment. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to escalator accidents. To keep your child safe on and around escalators, be sure to follow the below 5 tips:

1 Supervise your child

Children can make a game out of almost anything. Maybe for you, it’s just an escalator but for them, it’s like an amusement park. The problem is children don’t always understand the danger of certain situations. This is where your role comes as a parent:

  • Watch your children carefully when you are out and about, especially around elevators and escalators.
  • Don’t allow your children to use an escalator unattended.
  • Never let your children ride on or play with the handrail. This tragic escalator accident where a 3-year-old boy fell to his death inside an airport in the U.S could have easily been prevented if the mum were aware of the dangers of escalators and supervised her kids. You can’t see the full clip of the accident here but only a few seconds before.
  • Don’t allow your children to walk or run up the “down” escalator or down the “up” escalator.
  • Don’t allow your children to play with the escalator emergency buttons. Elevator sudden stop may cause the passengers to fall.

2 Don’t allow your child to wear rubber shoes on the escalator

When it comes to escalators, to say that there are a lot of moving parts is more than just a figure of speech.

The newly installed escalators have usually visible signs warning of potential dangers. The brush guard on the sides of the escalator, and the yellow marks on their steps and comb plates, are meant to help passengers stay within the demarcated area to prevent entrapment between the gaps of the escalators. Also, the escalators are usually equipped with safety devices that detect if an object becomes trapped between their gaps; however, these features aren’t completely foolproof.

Girl standing on the escalator, face forward and holding the handrail
Photo credit: Unsplash

If you’ve been thinking that those brushes are for cleaning your shoes or serve no function at all, then think again!

Children wearing footwear such as Crocs or soft pliable shoes such as flip-flops are especially at risk of being caught in escalator mechanisms. The softness of the shoe’s material combined with the smaller size of children’s feet makes this sort of accident especially common.

If you or your child are wearing rubber shoes or flip-flops, use the elevator rather than the escalator.

3 Do the following when riding an escalator

To keep your kid safe while riding an escalator, be sure to:

  • Keep your child in the middle of the step, away from the edges of the escalator. Hold the handrail with one hand and your child’s hand with the other. Better yet, carry your child until she’s old enough.
  • Help your child step onto and off of the escalator.
  • Make sure shoes are tied before getting on the escalator.
  • Tuck away any loose clothing like abayas or dangling accessories.
  • Do not allow your child to sit on escalator steps; clothing or fingers can get caught.
  • Step over the comb plate rather than ride into it.
  • Do not touch the sides below the handrail. Your fingers might get caught inside.
  • Don’t let your child drag his foot along an escalator’s sides. A child’s foot can become caught between the step and the side panel, causing serious injury.
  • Do not bring your child onto escalators in strollers, walkers, or carts. Use the elevator instead.

4 Learn where the emergency shutoff button is

Learn where the emergency shutoff buttons are in case you need to stop the escalator. They are usually red-colored and located at the top and bottom of the escalators. You can also find them in the middle for high-rise escalators.

5 Educate your child on the safe use of escalator

As your child gets older, teaching him to use the escalator safely is an effective way to prevent injuries and emergencies. You can also make learning fun by using online resources. SAFE-T-RIDERS – KIDS PROGRAM educate the public, particularly children, on how to safely ride elevators, escalators, and moving walks. The best and easiest method is to have your child visit their website or you can download and print the material yourself.

If you have found this post helpful, please share it with any mum, dad, teacher, or person who works with young kids. And don’t forget to leave your comments below!

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