Protect your child from the 5 most common elevator dangers!

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Children inside the lift pressing an elevator button

Elevators move billions of people around the world. Nowadays, they are common in mid and high-rise buildings. While modern elevators are relatively safe for passengers with proper installation, advanced safety features,  and regular service, children can still suffer injuries. Many of these elevator-related accidents are avoidable with proper public awareness. Read on to discover the 5 most common elevator dangers and how you can keep your child safe while riding an elevator.

1.Body part caught in moving doors

Moving elevator doors

In 2015, 22-months-old May underwent emergency surgery in UAE after her hand got crushed by the elevator doors. The accident happened in a second when the elevator doors opened.

Read the full story of May here .

Unfortunately, this type of accident is common among toddlers. The following media includes potentially sensitive content. Watch it at your own discretion.

Safety tip

Be very careful and watch out for young children, especially toddlers and preschoolers. Teach your child to stand away from the doors and not to put their hands or feet into the area between the moving door and the adjacent wall.

2.Door strike

Although modern elevator doors are equipped with motion sensors, these devices may fail to detect a smaller child and close, potentially causing injury. If the door’s closing force or speed is too high when it strikes a person including a child, the resulting injury could be severe.

Safety tip

Teach your child not to try to prevent the elevator door from closing with their hands or arms and not to stand in the gap as the doors close. Teach them to use the “Door Open” Button.

3.Entrapment

Another safety concern is when your older child is trapped while riding the elevator alone and tries to get out on their own. This is particularly dangerous because if the elevator is above a landing and someone tries to get out, they tend to lose their balance and fall back toward the elevator, slipping underneath and into the hoistway.

Note that all buildings are required to have an emergency rescue procedure, so people can be safely evacuated from a stopped elevator, even if it is between floors. This procedure is performed by only trained personnel.

Safety tip

If your kids ride the elevator alone, it is very important to teach them what to do in the event of an elevator emergency:

  • Do not panic. Stay calm and breathe properly. You are safe.
  • Even if the air temperature feels warm, there is plenty of air circulating in the elevator and its hoistway.
  • Emergency lighting will come on in the event of a power failure.
  • Use the ALARM, the telephone, or the intercom to call for assistance. If those are not working, yell for help.
  • Never climb out of a stopped elevator and wait for trained emergency personnel to arrive.

4.Levelling

Another common danger is the tripping hazard related to the “leveling” of an elevator. Elevators can get out of level from regular use. With the difference in level, people and especially children can trip and fall while they are getting on or off the elevator.

Safety tip

Teach your child to watch their steps while entering and exiting the elevator, as it may be below or above the level of the ground.

Photo credit: Technical Safety BC

5. Leash

Let’s talk about “Child leash”. Many parents struggle to contain explorative children, especially if they are in a large, crowded area or handling more than one child. One of the most popular ways to make sure the child stays close is a child leash. Yes, child leash is controversial, prompting often heated discussions on parenting, self-esteem, and safety. But that’s not our point of discussion here.

While there is seemingly an advantage for using a child leash, there is also a downside: Leashes are dangerous around moving machinery such as elevators.

In 2020, a toddler in China was dragged up the doors of a descending lift by her wrist leash after she stepped in alone but still attached to her caregiver. Luckily, the elevator’s emergency system activated, and the girl was rescued unharmed after being dangerously trapped in mid-air. Read the full article here.

This type of accident is common among pets, especially dogs. If the dog’s leash gets caught in the elevator door as the elevator moves, the dog could get strangled in a second.

Safety tip

You must be extremely careful with your child if he’s on a leash around moving machinery like elevators or escalators. Make sure he’s close to your side to avoid them pulling away from you. Read this article on how to protect your child from escalator danger.

Follow the same safety tip to make sure this accident doesn’t happen to your dog. In addition, keep the slack in your dog’s leash folded in your hand. Don’t let anything hang loose that could be snagged.

Conclusion

My final safety tip is to set a good example. Your kids look to you to learn how to behave in various situations. One of the best things any parent can do to encourage safe elevator habits is to practice good habits themselves. Lead by example and always look for teachable moments that could help a child stay safe in elevators in the future.

Finally, this video can be a good interactive learning material for kids. It teaches children how to use the elevator safely and what to do in case of an emergency like entrapment or fire.

You can also download this leaflet and go through it with your kids.

If you found this article useful, share it with other parents who might benefit from it.

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