Escalators Pose Serious Injury Threat to Children
For Release: August 4, 1997,5 p.m. (ET)
Below is a highlight of a study appearing on the August PEDIATRICS electronic pages, the Internet extension of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Members of the media may obtain the full text of this study by e-mailing the AAP Division of Public Relations or calling the Division at 847-981-7877 and asking for CE2-97. E-mail requests should include your name, media affiliation, phone and fax numbers or address. The complete studies also are available on PEDIATRICS electronic pages.
CHICAGO--Children are at risk for sustaining severe injuries while riding on escalators, according to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on this month's PEDIATRICS electronic pages. The study's authors, from New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, report that escalator-related trauma is uncommon, but when such trauma happens significant injury can result. The authors reviewed 26 cases of children under age 18 who went to the emergency room with escalator-related injuries from August 1990 through February 1995. Of those 26, half were between 2 and 4 years of age. Twelve children underwent surgery for treatment of severe lacerations, avulsions (separation of a limb or digit) or degloving (tearing off of skin and tissue) injuries. Thirty-one percent of the injured children were walking, running, playing or sitting on the escalator instead of riding properly. Twenty-three percent were injured while stepping off. All injuries resulted from one of three events: falling down with subsequent blunt trauma, falling down with subsequent entrapment of an extremity or, most often, entrapment of an extremity not related to falling down. Entrapment happened when a child became caught between two steps or between a step and the side-rail. In most entrapment cases, the child got caught between the last step and the comb plate at the end of the escalator. According to the authors, those injuries happened because young children remained standing on the escalator and allowed their feet to slide off at the end, instead of actually stepping off. The authors advise that parents and care providers always supervise children on escalators. They recommend hand-holding or even carrying young children while riding on, and especially while stepping off, escalators.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This study appeared on the peer-reviewed, scientific electronic pages of the American Academy of Pediatrics, but does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the Academy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 55,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.