The danger with shoes

By David Mikkelson Aug 8, 2008

Children have suffered injuries by getting their shoes caught in escalators.

At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly
young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs
known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.

One of the nation’s largest subway systems — the Washington Metro — has even posted ads warning riders
about wearing such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, though they don’t mention
Crocs by name.

Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His
mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding.
At first, Rory’s mother had no idea what caused the boy’s foot to get caught. It was only later, when someone at the
hospital remarked on Rory’s shoes, that she began to suspect the Crocs and did an Internet search.

“I came home and typed in ‘Croc’ and ‘escalator,’ and all these stories came up,” said Jodi McDermott, of Vienna, Va.
“If I had known, those would never have been worn.” According to reports appearing across the United States and
as far away as Singapore and Japan, entrapment occur because of two of the biggest selling points of shoes like
Crocs: their flexibility and grip. Some report the shoes get caught in the “teeth” at the bottom or top of the escalator,
or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator.

The reports of serious injuries have all involved young children. Crocs are commonly worn by children as young as
2. The company introduced shoes in its smallest size, 4/5, this past spring.

Niwot, Colo.-based Crocs Inc. said it does not keep records of the reasons for customer-service calls. But the company
said it is aware of “very few” problems relating to accidents involving the shoes, which are made of a soft, synthetic
resin.

“Thankfully, escalator accidents like the one in Virginia are rare,” the company said in a statement.

In Japan, the government warned consumers last week that it has received 39 reports of sandals — mostly Crocs or

similar products — getting stuck in escalators from late August through early September. Most of the reports appear
to have involved small children, some as young as two years old.

Kazuo Motoya of Japan’s National Institute of Technology and Evaluation said children may have more escalator
accidents in part because they “bounce around when they stand on escalators, instead of watching where they place
their feet.”

In Singapore, a 2-year-old girl wearing rubber clogs — it’s unclear what brand — had her big toe completely ripped off
in an escalator accident last year, according to local media

This is only a small part of a long list.

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