From cuts and scrapes to amputation, about 2,000 children under the age of 19 years are injured annually in escalator-related incidents, and more than half the injuries are falls, according to a 2006 study in Pediatrics,the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.


In addition, children younger than age 2 had the largest percentage of elevator-related injuries, according to a 2007 study published in Clinical Pediatrics.

Elevator-related injuries most commonly occur when children get their arms or legs caught in closing doors, while escalators can prove dangerous to children under age 5 and to those wearing soft-soled shoes or flip-flop sandals.

Fortunately, most elevator injuries are preventable. The study in Clinical Pediatrics found that among elevator-related injuries that required emergency department visits, nearly all were due to parental inattention or negligence. Only 5.4% resulted from elevator malfunction.

To keep kids safe, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other safety experts recommend parents take the following precautions:

  • Never bring your child onto an escalator in a stroller or cart. Instead,take the elevator or carry your child.

  • Remove loose drawstrings from children's mittens, scarves, shoes and other clothing to prevent them from getting caught in the escalator.

  • Hold your child's hands and have him or her face forward when standing on the escalator.

  • Do not allow children to play or sit on the steps and teach them to avoid the edges of steps, where entrapment can occur.

  • Learn where escalators' emergency shutoff buttons are located.

  • Supervise your child in or near elevators, especially when exiting or entering the elevator.

  • Set a good example for your child by not using an arm or leg to try to stop the elevator doors from closing.