Mall Safety: 5 Strategies to Keep Kids Safe

Escalators

Little kids are often freaked out by escalators, and they have reason to be: About 2,000 children -- most under the age of 5 -- are injured on escalators each year. Most of those injuries are due to falls; the rest occur when a child's hands, feet, or clothing are trapped in the escalator's moving parts. While some wounds are fairly minor (such as cuts and bruises from falls), entrapment injuries can crush a child's limbs, even requiring amputation.

Safety strategies:

  • Hold your child's hand so you can guide him on and off the escalator and make sure that his fingers don't get stuck in the gaps of the escalator's handrail
  • Tell your child to stand still and face forward. If he sits on the steps, his fingers and feet are closer to the escalator's rotating parts.
  • Got a stroller? Take the elevator instead. "You can only fit two wheels on a step," notes Karen Sheehan, M.D., medical director of the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Children's Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. "So if someone above or below you bumps you, you could easily lose control of the stroller." If you must take the escalator, ask someone to help you pick up the stroller and hold it while you ride.
  • Check your child's clothing. Make sure his shoelaces are tied, and don't let him drag his coat or scarf on the ground. If loose clothing gets caught up in an escalator, he could be pulled down with it. If your child gets stuck, hit the escalator's emergency stop button (it's usually at the top and bottom of the escalator), or yell at someone to do it for you if you aren't near it.

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