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Are escalators dangerous for children?

A mother's story

Escalators do not always have to be a danger to children, especially when you give them clear instructions – or so you may think! This is a story of how a child followed the instructions given by an adult to the letter, which nearly cost him a limb.

Escalators do not always have to be a danger to children, especially when you give them clear instructions – or so you may think! This is a story of how a child followed the instructions given by an adult to the letter, which nearly cost him a limb.

A Mother’s Story:
You wouldn’t think that giving clear instructions could actually harm a child. My five-year-old boy, Benji, went shopping with a close friend of mine; as they approached the escalators Benji was told he had to hold on tightly to the rail otherwise he might fall. Listening intently Benji did exactly as she said, but he didn’t let go once they had reached the top of the escalator.

His little hand went down and under the railing and was being pressed and sucked upon by the rail, which was still moving. He started screaming and my friend started to panic. Luckily some other people came to the rescue and pulled on Benji’s hand until it came loose. The problem was they had to pull his arm so hard much of the skin from his little hand tore off exposing the bone on his hand. The strangers’ actions were not only incredibly brave, but also ultimately saved Benji’s hand.

Benji was rushed to hospital and had to undergo operations to remove the rubber from the escalator embedded in his hand. Nine months later I am happy to say Benji is doing fine. He has regular hand exercises to do and his consultant says he will make a full recovery.

I am very grateful to my friend who acted so quickly and to the public who helped my son after his accident. As a family we are now really cautions when we get on an escalator. It could have been so much worse for Benji, I just hope by talking about this we can prevent it from happening to other children.

When you give a child instructions, stop and think what it is you are literally/actually saying. Do not assume they will draw logical conclusions – that is something they only learn over time.

It is important to teach children common sense and not just a set of rules. Parents and carers do have a responsibility to ensure children live within a safe environment, but they cannot be with their children all of the time. Therefore it is equally important to teach children to think for themselves - to assess a situation and then take responsibility for their own safety.
 

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