Escalators are a regular sight at family-friendly locations like shopping malls and museums, so a significant portion of the riders of the estimated 90 billion annual rides are children. Though there are more elevators than escalators in the United States, escalator injuries are about 15 times more common and young children are the most likely to be injured by them. Understanding the causes can help parents be prepared to keep their kids safe.
How escalator injuries happen
When it comes to escalators, to say that there are a lot of moving parts is more than just a figure of speech. Potential points of failure include:
- Comb plates
- Screws and other fasteners
When any of these parts is broken, defective, poorly maintained, or improperly installed or adjusted, it opens up the possibility of injury. The most commonly-reported ways these happen include:
- Slipping or tripping
- Falling, including over the side rail
- Entanglement due to motorization
Children are among most likely escalator injury victims
Children are particularly vulnerable to entrapment accidents, where the moving parts of the escalator trap a piece of clothing or body part. Of the 10,000 annual escalator injuries in this country, most are to children under the age of 12 or seniors over 65.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, falls account for 75% of the injuries while entrapment between the escalator sidewall and the top or bottom of the escalator or its moving stair makes up about 20%. About half of these entrapment type accidents injure children under the age of 5.
Avoiding escalator injuries
Children’s escalator injuries are most often attributable to something getting caught between the stair and sidewall or in the comb plate at the bottom or top of the escalator. Small hands and footwear are among the common hazards.
When riding with small children, remember the following:
- Make sure shoes are tied before riding
- Stand in the middle of the escalator stair and do not let children ride too close to the side
- Hold the rail with one hand and firmly hold the child or the child’s hand with the other
- Tuck away any loose clothing or dangling accessories
- Do not allow children to ride while sitting
- Step over the comb plate rather than riding into it
If an injury does occur, seek medical help. As soon as possible, also try to take some photos of where the accident happened and obtain the contact information for witnesses.
What happens if you are injured on an escalator?
An escalator injury can result in physical pain, emotional suffering, and mounting medical bills. Louisiana slip and fall lawyer Bart Bernard is dedicated to helping personal injury victims recover from these losses by holding property owners accountable. Call today to schedule a free consultation in our Baton Rouge or Lafayette offices.
Additional Escalator Injuries Resources:
- Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, http://www.elcosh.org/document/1232/d000397/Deaths+and+Injuries+Involving+Elevators+and+Escalators+-+A+Report+of+the+Center+To+Protect+Workers%27+Rights.html?show_text=1
- United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Know the Steps to Safety When Using Escalators, Some shoes more likely than others to pose risk, https://www.cpsc.gov/content/know-the-steps-to-safety-when-using-escalators-some-shoes-more-likely-than-others-to-pose
- Schindler, Escalator Tips, https://www.schindler.com/ae/internet/en/service-maintenance/safety/tips-for-escalator-users.html