Boy wearing rubber shoes loses toe in an escalator nightmare

Boy wearing rubber shoes loses toe in an escalator nightmare

Most escalators, in such cases, would automatically stop. However, in this particular case, the escalator didn’t.

Escalators have been getting a bad rep for mutilating children all over China, and as it turns out, the nightmare isn’t stopping anytime soon.

In Hong Kong’s Ocean Park, a three-year-old boy lost a toe after his rubber shoe got stuck in an escalator and he was trapped between the machine’s steps and the side skirt panel in Adventure Land.

According to a Straits Times report, the boy’s pregnant mother had to physically pull his son away from the escalator to prevent further injury.

Aside from the amputated toe, his other two toes were left permanently disfigured. He also suffered a traumatic psychological damage.

According to the boy’s grandfather Choi, most escalators, in such cases, would automatically stop. But this particular escalator didn’t.

He also said that the park’s staff were slow to respond to the incident; one employee even insisted on carrying the boy to the first aid station, 500 meters from the scene for inspection instead of calling emergency services.

Instead, two tourists carried the boy.

Ocean Park reportedly offered HK$100,000 as settlement, but the boy’s family rejected it because they wanted an investigation into why the escalator didn’t stop.

The family also wants a formal apology and compensation for the damage done.

“Many kids grow up there,” Choi said. “What if it happened to a second child?”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Ocean Park revealed that the HK$100,000 was offered as an emergency payment on an ex gratia basis and was no indication that the park admitted responsibility.

Following an inspection, experts found that all safety devices were working as they should and at par with standard requirements following an inspection by experts.

Next page, read the tips on how to keep children safe on escalators

The same Straits Times report said that escalators are equipped with motion sensors that stop the machine should an object get stuck; the number of sensors in an escalator, however, varies.

Lawmaker James To Kun-sun, assisting the Choi family in their case, said the escalator at Ocean Park only had two sensors—one at the top and bottom.

Updated safety standards require operators to install sensors proportional to the escalator’s length; Ocean Park’s is the second longest of its kind in the city.

“We need to update our legislation and also require Ocean Park to observe [the changes] even if the legislation has not yet been updated,” lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said. “We should keep the highest level of safety and that should be updated for all escalators.”

According to the Straits Times report, last year alone, there had been in the city 1,590 escalator-related incidents reported. The incident involving the boy, however, was only the first involving serious injuries.

Escalator safety

Stepping onto an escalator with your little one? Here are some tips to remember, as originally seen on The AsiganParent Singapore.

  • Lift your kids up. Your little ones may not have enough coordination or developmental skills to step off and instantly land on the platform—it takes good timing even as an adult. If your toddler jumps off, they might lose their balance and fall. Always lift your toddler on and off the steps of the escalator.
  • Step over the “combs”. The combs are basically where the escalator steps vanishes into the floor below when you get on or off. There is a slight gap where your kid’s toes might be trapped. Avoid it completely by stepping over it every single time.
  • The type of shoes matters. Try to avoid wearing plastic shoes that are flexible—there have been reports of Crocs or similar types of footwear that caused accidents. Your kid may slide their footwear along the side of the escalator, which will cause friction and run the risk of getting a wedged foot.
  • No play on board. Tell them to avoid the edge of the steps, and never let them play or sit on the steps.
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READ: How to keep your kid safe on escalators

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James Martinez

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