Whether navigating a busy airport terminal, department store, or shopping mall, guiding kids through any public space is always challenging. Yet while most parents and caregivers take every precaution to ensure their little ones don’t become lost in the crowd, far too many remain unaware of the serious dangers posed by escalators and moving walkways.
The fact is, escalators and other automated people movers cause thousands of accidents every year, with children accounting for a significant percentage of victims. And all too often, severe injury or wrongful death was entirely preventable and the direct result of defectively designed or poorly maintained equipment.
Our highly trained and experienced child injury lawyers have a successful record representing the victims of defective products and dangerous premises, earning nationwide acclaim for their aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of victims and their families. If your son or daughter was hurt on an escalator or moving walkway, our law firm has the resources and skill to hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure your family receives the verdict or settlement you deserve. To speak with an attorney, please contact our office today at 1-877-875-2927.
Escalator and Moving Walkway Injury Statistics
In most of the country, you’ll find escalators and automated walkways installed at just about any public or commercial building where pedestrians need to move about quickly and efficiently:
- Shopping centers, malls, and department stores
- Airport terminals
- Subway and train stations
- Hotels and casinos
- Apartment and condominium complexes
- Amusement and theme parks
- Stadiums and arenas
Escalators are moving stairways that transport people between floors.
Moving walkways – including moving sidewalks, Autowalks, moving walks, Travolaters or travelators, and moving pavement – are horizontal conveyor belts that move pedestrians from place to place on a single level.
While they’re generally safe, escalator accidents alone send about 10,000 people to the emergency room every year. Kids under the age of 12 and adults over the age of 65 account for the majority of injured victims.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, 75% of these injuries result from falls, and 20% result in a finger, toe or other body part getting trapped, stuck or crushed in a moving escalator-. About half of all entrapments involve children under the age of five.
Types of Escalator and Moving Walkway Accidents
The most common types of escalator and moving walkway accidents include:
- Slips and Falls: Victims who slipped and fell while using an escalator or other automated people mover sustained everything from lacerations and minor bumps and bruises to more severe skull fractures, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries.
- Entrapment by Escalator Comb Plate: Amputations and crushing injuries can occur if a child’s shoelaces or clothing become wedged between the moving stair and the stationary comb plate at the very top or bottom of the escalator.
- Entrapment Between Escalator Step and Skirt Guard: Kids can suffer catastrophic and deadly injuries if clothes, fingers, or a shoe get caught between an escalator step and the skirt guard.
- Handrail Accidents: Children have also been hurt when an article of clothing or a body part became caught in a moving handrail.
Causes of Escalator and Moving Walkway Accidents
The most common causes of escalator and moving walkway accidents include:
- Mechanical or Malfunctioning problems: Because escalators and moving walkways are complex machines, regular inspection and maintenance are required to ensure safety.
- Broken or Missing Steps: Constant use can cause the steps on an escalator to wear out or break. Children might fall on a broken step or become trapped in the escalator.
- Handrail Issues: An improperly secured handrail can interfere with normal operation, resulting in a sudden stop or start. These abrupt changes can -cause a rider to lose his or her balance resulting in serious injury.
- Comb Plate Gaps: Every escalator has a comb plate at the top and bottom of the moving stairs. To guard against entrapment, the comb plates must be well-secured and installed without a gap.
Signs that an escalator or moving walkway might be dangerous include:
- The angle of the escalator is too steep.
- The handrails are too low.
- The speed is too fast.
- The side of the escalator or walkway is open.
- There is a large gap between the steps/conveyor and the floor.
- The equipment is making screeching, thumping sounds.
- A foot brush is missing.
- There is a comb plate missing.
- Steps are missing on the escalator.
Keep Your Kids Safe on Escalators and Moving Walkways
Never allow children to play on or near an escalator or moving walkway, never leave kids unattended, and always hold their hands. Don’t bring infants or toddlers onto escalators in strollers, walkers, or carts. Never try to navigate up an escalator while carrying a heavy bag of luggage or large suitcase – especially while carrying your baby. Use an elevator or lift instead.
When riding on an escalator or automated walkway, teach your son or daughter to:
- Stand in the center, within the yellow lines, keeping feet away from the sides.
- Hold the handrail. (If the railing is too high, consider walking under your own power, taking the stairs, or using an elevator)
- Keep scarves and other loose clothing away from the edges where they might get caught.
- Make sure shoelaces are tied before boarding and never get on barefoot.
- Never rest toys, backpacks, or shopping bags on the steps or handrails.
- Step off at the end and immediately clear the exit area.
- Never sit or play on an escalator or moving walkway.
- Never run on an escalator or moving walkway, always face forward, and never go the wrong way.
- Proceed with caution when wearing Crocks, flip-flops and open-toed shoes, as they’re more likely to become trapped in the sides and exit plates.
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Lawyer
Unfortunately, defectively designed or poorly maintained escalators and moving walkways can cause accidents, injuries, and wrongful death even when riders have taken all possible precautions.
As a top personal injury lawyer and dedicated child advocate, Jeffry Killino works tirelessly to prevent accidental deaths and injuries from ever happening again. If your son or daughter was hurt while riding an escalator or moving walkway, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-875- 2927.