Safety official says escalator safety is key for parents

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- It took rescuers nearly two and half hours to free a little boy's hand from an escalator last night at Iverson Mall. Fortunately, the safety device on the handrail worked and the boy is okay.

"You want to grasp the handrail on your side, directly where you are," says Lou Brown, Jr.

But hands aren't the only concern on moving set of stairs. You need to keep your child's feet protected, too.

So, we went to a place in District of Columbia that is known for frequent trips up and down everyday to talk about safety.

"We don't necessarily say "do's and don'ts," we just say be mindful where you're stepping," Brown says.

Lou Brown is the Assistant Chief Safety Officer for Metro. He takes escalator safety seriously and says you should too.

"Step over the comb plate, keep your feet away from the side rail," he says.

Brown says if you follow this advice, you'll keep loose clothing and shoes from getting caught between openings in the metal steps and the sides. You need to be especially careful with flip flops and soft shoes.

When getting on and off, the safety officer says, "Be mindful not to drag your feet over the comb plate, keep moving and don't come to a stop as your exiting the escalator."

You don't want a child to stand backward on an escalator as they're riding up with their hands at their sides. They should always have a hand on the handrail until they get to the top or bottom. Then, they need to move their hands and feet quickly.

And, parents should always make sure they're holding the other hand.

"Take that parenting role seriously, take the supervision role seriously, and monitor your children and mentor your children in the proper way to use the escalator," says Lou Brown.

So, never sit on the steps of an escalator

Don't put a stroller on the steps

If you have more than one child with you, take the elevator

Flip, Don't Flop: Escalator Safety

And, we can't stress enough, when your child gets to the bottom of the platform, make sure they let go of the handrail. Otherwise, it could get trapped.

Most escalators have a security feature that will stop it from moving, if it detects a hand still on the rail at the end.


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