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Barry Doyle
Barry Doyle
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Child's thumb mangled in escalator

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There was a Christmas-time accident on an escalator at the Macy’s store in New York City. The child and his parents were going down an escalator when another passenger fell, knocking the boy over and causing him to get his thumb stuck in the escalator. He now faces the possibility of having his thumb amputated.

It was the second accident in recent months at the store. In October, a girl suffered an amputated finger in an accident on an escalator there.

Escalators pose special dangers for children. Because they are relatively slow-moving, people seldom recognize the tremendous power of the motors that power them.

Current safety standard require that there be no more than a three sixteenths of an inch gap between the step and the sidewall of an escalator. However, that gap can increase beyond tolerance due to warping of the sidewall members and skewing of the steps. These two factors can act together to create gaps into which the fingers and hands of children can be entrapped, resulting in serious injuries to the child.

Both the property owner and their escalator maintenance contractor are responsioble for keeping all of the components of an escalator up to the relevant safety standards.