Escalator tragedy is a grim safety reminder for all parents

Escalator tragedy is a grim safety reminder for all parents

What happened to this woman could easily happen to a child, with disastrous consequences...

A woman has narrowly escaped serious injury after the step of the escalator she was on at The Arcade in Raffles Place, broke.

An eyewitness, identified as Mrs Liu, said she heard a loud noise coming from the escalator on Tuesday (January 5), says a Straits Times report.

Reportedly, two people had been riding on the escalator at around 3.30pm on the day of the incident -- a man who had just stepped off on to the second floor landing, and the woman who was about three steps behind the faulty step.

The escalator came to an immediate halt when one of the steps in front of the woman suddenly broke.

Going by a photo that were posted of the scene (see below), it looks like the escalator step broke into three pieces.

Fortunately, the woman was not hurt. However, eyewitness Mrs Liu is reported to have said that she looked shocked and could not speak for a while.

During lunch and in the evening, the building is very crowded. Had this incident occurred then, things could have turned out quite disastrous.

A grim reminder for parents

How can we forget the July 2015 incident of a mother of a toddler in China who died after plunging through the flooring of an elevator in a shopping mall?

Then in October, also in China, a four-year-old boy also died after his hand was trapped by the moving handrails of an escalator.

Another Chinese boy narrowly escaped death after falling off an escalator, also last year.

Closer to home in Singapore, a four-year-old boy got his hands stuck between the steps of an escalator at the Ang Mo Kio MRT station a couple of years ago.

These are just a few of the incidents reported about tragedies and near-tragedies involving children and adults on escalators.

To note and remember

Parents, do keep these escalator safety tips in mind whenever your child is with you on or near an escalator:

1. Before your child gets on, make sure there are no loose strings on your child that might get caught—mittens, ribbons, shoe laces, other clothing or dangling items.

2. Always hold on to your child’s hand. Have your kid face forward the whole time when standing on a moving escalator.

3. No play on board. Tell them to avoid the edge of the steps, and never let them play or sit on the steps.

4. Find an alternative to the escalator. When you’re using a stroller, try to use the elevator as much as possible. In a study done across several years, there were 13,000 child-related injuries and accidents on escalators and out of that number, 723 revolved around strollers. In those cases, kids actually fell out of the stroller. It’s better to take a little time waiting for the elevator and be safe.

5. Lift your kids up. Your little ones may not have enough coordination or developmental skills to step off and instantly land on the platform—it takes good timing even as an adult. If your toddler jumps off, they might lose their balance and fall. Always lift your toddler on and off the steps of the escalator.

6. Step over the “combs”. The combs are basically where the escalator steps vanishes into the floor below when you get on or off. There is a slight gap where your kid’s toes might be trapped. Avoid it completely by stepping over it every single time.

7. Right in the centre. Stand right in the middle if possible. It could be a tangled situation on either side of the escalator.

8. The type of shoes matters. Try to avoid wearing plastic shoes that are flexible—there have been reports of Crocs or similar types of footwear that caused accidents. Your kid may slide their footwear along the side of the escalator, which will cause friction and run the risk of getting a wedged foot.

9. Scour your surroundings. Before you get on the escalator, look around you and be aware of what is going on. You might be busy attending to your kid but do take a moment to register the stuff and people around you. You have to be aware of people on a hurry; they might shove you and your kid aside to get on. So, your best bet is to leave several empty steps empty before getting on with your child.

10. Watch your kids like a hawk. Your kid may be tempted to get a little cheeky by sitting down, facing backwards or even pick up objects that may have fallen. This could be a disaster waiting to happen, especially near the end of the ride.

What escalator safety tips would you add to this list? Do share them, along with your thoughts on this article, in a comment below. 

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