The Hidden Dangers of Escalators { A Must Read If You Are a Parent}

The Hidden Dangers of Escalators

I have fond memories of riding escalators as a kid and never really thought of them as something that posed much danger. To me they were always a bonus free amusement park ride whenever we visited the local mall.

As a parent I had heard that escalators were really dangerous for kids who are wearing Croc style rubbery shoes. Supposedly they can easily get sucked into the space between the moving step and the side panel. I was not overly concerned because my kids never wear those types of shoes outside of the house but I decided to look into this a bit further and discovered that the danger applies to all types of footwear, even for adults.

What really provoked me to look into this issue was an unfortunate incident that my mother witnessed recently. She was at a train station close to her home and as she was approaching the bottom of the escalator to go up to the train level she heard people screaming and a train station attendant yelling at everyone to get off the escalator.  She knew something bad happened from the tone of his voice and his panicked face.  As she made her way up the stone stairs she saw what had just happened. A little boy, around two years old, was screaming and crying as his caregiver and other people who had gathered around him were trying to pull his little foot off the side of the escalator. His foot was sucked into the space between the step and the side panel and what was left of his shoe, a toddler sneaker shoe, was shredded to pieces, his little toes crushed inside the equipment and his leg all bent in an unnatural way.  Within minutes firefighters arrived at the scene and started working on getting his little foot out. It took them over 45 minutes to free his foot and he was rushed to hospital.

We checked the local news and didn’t find out any information about what happened to him but the devastating accident is something that she will never forget. When she later returned to the same train station where the accident had happened she noticed the escalator was filled with warning stickers instructing parents to hold onto their children and supervise their escalator ride. A stark reminder that escalators are dangerous equipment that should be ridden with caution.

I am writing this post with the hope to help parents understand the safety hazards around escalators and hopefully help prevent some serious accidents.

The Hidden Dangers of Escalators

Here are a few tips and warnings:

  • If possible carry your toddler
  • If they are standing, watch them very carefully and make sure they stand in the middle of the step.
  • At the end of the ride make sure to clearly step over the edge where the moving step slides under.
  • Be extra careful with long jackets, untied shoelaces, scarves or any other dangling object that could get caught.
  • It doesn’t matter what type of shoes they wear, if the escalator has any holes on the side panels, a hole as small to fit a pencil, then there is grave danger.

Below are a few must watch videos explaining the dangers and how accidents can happen in seconds:


Be sure to share this post with loved ones!

The following two tabs change content below.

Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

19 responses to “The Hidden Dangers of Escalators { A Must Read If You Are a Parent}”

  1. Escalators are not toys. I am always reminding my children of that. You do NOT play on escalators!!!

  2. even adults can get tripped up with escalators. it’s not a playground for sure

  3. Great tips! thanks for sharing!

  4. Great tips, thanks for sharing! Sending this to my family and friends!

  5. My 3 year old son got his hand trapped in a small space on a escalator, thank goodness it was near the top where we were finally able to release his hand. No broken bones but it scraped of some skin and his fingers were so swollen he could not bend them.

  6. I remember always checking my boys shoes for loose laces before getting on the escalator….

  7. I got my shoe sole caught in an escalator once. It ripped the whole thing right off the bottom. A store owner had to come with a pair of scissors and cut off the piece that was still stuck to my shoe so I could walk away. Luckily, I wasn’t injured, but I was a teen at the time, in a mall, and I was mortified.

  8. Escalators are dangerous places, thanks for bringing this up. People tend to forget how dangerous they can be since they use them daily. It is the same with revolving doors too – anything that moves can be dangerous, please beware and keep your children safe.

  9. I agree with you that escalators can be very dangerous for toddlers. Years ago, I was helping my daughter with her twin toddlers on an escalator. I remember a moment or two of absolute panic when I thought one of them was going to get a foot caught in it. It happened more than 20 plus years ago but I shall never forget it. It did not happen but I was extremely careful after that. Small children should always be carried and others should not step near the edge. Thank you for a timely reminder.

  10. i’m always worried my shoelace is going to get snagged inside the escalator

  11. I dislike them and avoid them when I can

  12. Escalators always make me a little nervous, so I’m extra careful on it. I don’t know why people are so careless on them, especially since there’s been a number of incidents on them

  13. Escalators really scare me. I’ve seen some horrific things on the news.

  14. I have just reread this post and I think it should be a must-read for every parent. It can be a dangerous place for anyone, but especially for children. This post was the first one I have ever read on the dangers of escalators and they are so common now.

  15. Very important,shared on FB for family and frinds

  16. If at all possible, use the stairs. Escalators are very dangerous for many ppl – seniors, women with heels esp stilettos, and children. I see kids running up and down the elevator at the mall, no parent around, little, too. It is good to instill a healthy respect for how dangerous they can be when children are young. If you are cautious and take precautions, escalators are great!

  17. I am 58 years old and still am very nervous when riding the escalator

  18. This is a post that should be more widely published with large signs by escalators warning of the dangers of toddlers’ shoes being caught and the danger of long scarves, etc. I think that many people still do not realize the dangers. Many seem to be very casual. Of course,, I did not realize myself, until I received a really bad scare travelling on one with a toddler. I am no longer casual and would carry a toddler on one if I had one on an escalator now.

  19. This topic has come up again in the news when a small child was caught up in an escalator. The child was not badly hurt, and it brought to the attention of the publi
    the dangers of having small children and toddlers on these devices; and the importance of diligence of parents and caregivers when travelling on them with little ones.

Leave a Comment