I still cringe whenever I remember the incident in which my son , who was just 6 years old, miscalculated his step, and almost got his foot stuck in the escalator. It was really scary! It may come second nature to some people, but riding the escalators can be awkward for kids and even some adults. It involves timing and coordination: stepping off earlier could cause a trip, a little late could get one caught in the conveyor belt. Here are some tips to avoid such accidents:
- If your child is not old enough to follow simple commands or requests, carry the child before stepping on and off the escalator. But do not lift your child just as you are about to get on; give yourself a few seconds to gain your balance.
- Most escalators have a yellow warning strip at the edge of each step. Teach your child to avoid stepping on this yellow line, as he may lose his balance when the steps split.
- With toddlers, hold their hand tightly and count 1-2-3 before stepping into the escalator; tug his hand up on the final count to signal that it is time to take the step. Do the same count and hand tug when you are about to get off the escalator.
- Do not rush into crowded escalators. Your child could get crushed. Use your body to shield him and make sure to point out the steps for he may not see them in a crowd.
- Tell your child to release his hold on the rubber handrail as soon as he steps off the escalator. Their hands could get caught at the end of the revolving handrail and be “eaten” by the belt.
- Check if the shoelaces, sleeves, or any part of your child’s clothing may get caught in the conveyor.
- If you have a pram or a stroller, avoid taking it on the escalator with your child on it. It’s better to carry your child in your arms.
- If you must have your child in the pram, be sure that you see your child at all times. You must also check that the wheels of the pram are free from obstacle and can slide off the next floors effortlessly. Practice getting on and off the escalator with a pram several times before attempting to do it with a child on board.
- Try to familiarize yourself with the stop button either at the escalator’s top o bottom step. In case of an emergency, you know which button to push.