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!