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Toddler's Finger Severed in Escalator Accident

Escalators can be extremely dangerous for children.

A 2-year-old boy had two of his fingers severed in an escalator in Portland, Oregon. He was at the Washington Square Mall when he got his hand caught in the escalator near the mall’s food court. The boy was attempting to run up the down escalator at the time of the accident, reported NBC News (8.20.14).

When his mother pulled the toddler from the escalator, the finger injury was discovered. The escalator was taken apart by workers and the boy’s two fingers were retrieved and sent to the hospital for possible reattachment. The success of this operation was unreported.

Investigators who reviewed the security video saw that the toddler had been left unattended, NBC News reported.

Of interest to lawyers and others concerned about the safety of escalators, NBC reported that a safety switch failed on the mall escalator that severed the fingers of the 2-year-old. A state report from the Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Affairs was said to have concluded that failure of the switch inside the escalator “did not contribute to this accident.”

Escalators depend on many electrical and mechanical components to function. If the escalator is not routinely inspected and maintained, mechanical failures can occur, leading to serious injuries.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were approximately 11,000 escalator related injuries in 2007. Nearly a quarter of those injured were kids. Escalator accidents involving children are disproportionally represented by kids five years old and under.

More than 90 percent of escalator injuries were caused by falls, but 10 percent occurred when hands, feet or shoes were trapped in the mechanical stairs. Falls often cause more severe injuries and more deaths.

The CPSC offered ways to prevent escalator injuries.

– Adults should always hold children’s hands.

– Keep feet and clothing away from the sides of the escalator.

– Tie shoes before getting on the escalator.

– Try to stand near the middle of the step.

– Never let children sit down or play on the steps.

– Do not bring children onto escalators in strollers, walkers, or carts.

– Learn where the emergency shutoff buttons are in case the escalator needs to be stopped.

The NBC News story cited is “Toddler’s finger severed in Washington Square’s escalator.”


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