A family is grieving the loss of their little boy after a tragic escalator accident in a US shopping centre.

The two-year-old was in his dad’s arms while travelling on an escalator when he lunged for the railing, causing his dad to lose his grip on his son.

The toddler fell from the second floor of a shopping complex in Aurora, Colorado around 4:00 pm on Sunday. Witnesses watched as the little boy fell to the ground and lay unconscious on the ground.

Multiple witnesses said they saw the toddler lying on the ground, not moving. One witness, who was shopping near the incident, said he heard a woman screaming before noticing a crowd forming around the critically injured toddler.

“At first, everybody was crowded around him and I think someone was checking his vitals.”

The toddler was then rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. He died early Monday morning.

A spokesperson for the Washington Prime Group, which owns the Town Center at Aurora, said the company’s “thoughts and prayers were with the boy and his family”.

“We are working closely with the Aurora Fire and police departments as they investigate the accident,” the company said in a statement.

Escalator accidents

This horrific accident acts as a stark reminder of just how quickly tragedy can strike.

While police are still investigating what happened, it is believed the incident was completely accidental. Toddlers, after all, attempt to wiggle out of their parent’s arms all the time. What a heartbreaking thing to have happened. Our thoughts are with the family.

This isn’t the first time someone has died falling from an escalator. In the United States, where the incident occurred, incidents involving elevators and escalators kill about 30 and seriously injure about 17,000 people each year, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Shopping centre
Town Centre at Aurora. Source: Facebook

Escalator safety 

According to Schindler Australia, the right way to ride an escalator with a young child is to either:

  • Hold his or her hand
  • Or carry the child in one arm while holding the handrail with the other.

It is believed the father was doing the second option with his son when he simply lost his balance.

Schindler Australia also lists the following safety advice when travelling with children on escalators:

  • Help children step onto and off of the escalator.
  • Do not allow children to sit on escalator steps – clothing or fingers can get caught. Side note: I’ve seen this happen to a young boy and he got his arm stuck in the escalator. It ripped most of the skin off his arm and was absolutely horrific to witness. I cannot imagine the pain the young boy would have been in. Since then, I avoid escalators if I can.
  • Do not let children put their hands or feet into the area between the moving door and the adjacent door jamb.
  • Never let children ride on or play with the handrail.
  • Don’t allow children to use an escalator unattended.
  • Don’t allow children to walk or run up the “down” escalator or down the “up” escalator.
  • Never let children drag their feet along an escalator’s sides. No matter how tempting it is to make that distinctive “squeaky noise,” a child’s foot can become caught between the step and the side panel, causing serious injury.
  • Never take a stroller on an escalator. Use the elevator instead.

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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