Escalator accidents are climbing -


Escalator accidents cause head trauma, severed limbs

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 10,000 people are injured on escalators every year. Don't take riding on these moving stairways for granted!

Doctor Alan Nager of the Children's Hospital Los Angeles says, "Escalators pose a significant danger and it's really unrecognized."

More than 70 percent of escalator injuries are caused by falls. Children can quickly lose their balance and tumble down the metal steps. Playing or fooling around on an escalator is another big risk.

"The child who tries to ride it backwards or tries to go from the bottom up to the top while it's rolling down -- those are all the kinds of mischievous behaviors that can lead to falls, broken bones and significant head trauma," says Nager. "In fact, escalator injuries are on the rise."

Nager says one of the biggest danger zones is the area where the moving steps meet the side of the escalator.

"We've seen some fingers that were either near or complete amputations because they get stuck in that escalator and can't get out," says Nager.

But the most frequent injuries are to children's feet, particularly for kids who wear sandals, flip-flops and soft clogs while riding. These types of shoes often get wedged into the side of the rolling stairs or in the grate as children try to step off.

"Once they get trapped, of course, the skin, the digits, the toes, all of those follow and we've seen some devastating injuries," says Nager.

Engineer Richard Marquez of the Boca Group is a certified escalator inspector. Marquez says very few people read the posted safety rules, so they unknowingly put themselves or their children at risk.

"First and foremost, strollers are not allowed on escalators. The reason is there's a potential of losing your balance or getting hurt or injuring the child," says Marquez.

Marquez recommends that everyone should practice good escalator safety. And parents especially need to remind kids before they ride.

"Make sure they stay on one step," says Marquez. "Don't jump from one step to the other. Make sure they're facing forward or paying attention to what's in front of them and either hold the handrail. If they're really young, hold on to the parent's hand and make sure they're following the instructions of the escalator as they're riding it."

Finally, be sure kids step over the threshold at the end of their ride. And, if something does happen, use the emergency button to stop the escalator.

Escalator accidents are real. And it's up to you to keep your family and yourself safe every time you ride up or down one.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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