Crocs and escalators

No one in my family wears Crocs — too expensive. Well, even if they weren’t, they’d still look too clunky for my size 6 feet.

But the aesthetics and price of Crocs aside, last week, there was a column about children whose Crocs got caught in escalators. In Singapore, two-year-old Chong Shiyr’s fake Crocs got caught in an escalator in a mall, ripping off her right toe. At the Atlanta International Airport, a three-year-old girl had two toes partially amputated after her (presumably genuine) Crocs got caught in the escalator.

My eyebrows raised somewhat upon reading that a spokesperson for Crocs said that “The popularity of our shoes has helped draw attention to a long-existing issue that we think is very important–escalator safety.” But since I am not a Crocs user, I wouldn’t really know if this is a footwear or an escalator issue.

I’ve searched Google News for more details on these incidents (including an earlier one involving a boy, a story published in the Singapore Straits Times, according to Jojo Robles’ column) and came up with nothing. I thought this was no big story until it became the topic of conversation among parents at a wake we went to on Saturday evening.

A friend’s 4-year-old daughter has a pair of Crocs — acquired free, I might add, from a gift certificate that came with a Hewlett-Packard printer that my friend’s mother bought recently. Naturally, the girl’s parents were the most alarmed from the conversation.

Like I said earlier, I don’t know if the accidents in Singapore and Atlanta were caused by the footwear or the escalators. I do know, however, that it isn’t just footwear that have been in issue when it comes to child safety in escalators.

When Sam and Alex were younger, we carried them when we rode in escalators because there have been stories about skirts and ribbons getting caught in the teeth between the escalator steps. We didn’t allow them to step onto escalators until they were about 5 or 6. And, even then, we watched as they stepped onto the escalator and we held their hands.

Of course, we don’t have to do that anymore today. But for those with young children, Crocs or no Crocs, it’s better to be safe in escalators.

I should mention too that despite extreme peer pressure, we never bought the girls those shoes with retractable wheels.

UPDATE @ 12.54 a.m.

Apparently, I used the wrong keyword when searching for the Crocs stories earlier. I searched for “Crocs escalator” and came up with these:

Soft-soled shoes like Crocs, flip-flops and sandals are increasingly causing problems when they meet the top or bottom step of the escalator and get stuck in the metal. (ABC 7 News)

Soft Soles Fall Fashion Victim to Escalators (Washington Post)

Link to a scanned page of a Singaporean newspaper with the story of Chen Junyan (with a photo of the footwear he was wearing when the accident happened).

In Canada, a 4-year-old boy from Toronto was luckier — he was unharmed although his purple Crocs were ruined when they got caught in an escalator. Details and a video of the boy and his ruined Crocs in City News Canada.