How to keep your kid safe on escalators
A 4-year-old boy may lose mobility of his hand after a recent accident at the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. Accidents happen but we can try our very best to prevent it. Here are some tips on how to stay safe when using escalators.
Surely you’ve heard numerous stories of kids losing fingers, toes or some part of the anatomy while on the escalator. Some of us might already be desensitized to the fact that it could actually happen to our own kid.
Reports suggest that the injured boy, Lucas Xie, was with his maid and brother descending on the escalator when he was pushed from behind causing him to lose balance. He fell down and landed on his left hand, which got stuck in the steps travelling downwards. The poor boy’s hand was stuck for over 10 minutes.
Lucas was rushed to KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital. There was a “hairline fracture in his middle finger” causing his blood vessels to be damaged, thus this might affect the mobility of his hand in the future.
1. Before your child gets on… the escalator, make sure there are no lose strings on your child that will 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 and 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.