When your kids are telling you that they want “crocs”, it isn’t a new pet crocodile they would like, but a colorful, somewhat ugly plastic shoe. (The shoe actually gets its name due to the shoe profile that looks like a crocodile’s snout). Since 2002, the company, Crocs, Inc has sold more than 50 million of these must-have shoes to kids and adults alike. However, some of the shoes best features, flexibility and grip, have caused several escalator injuries both here in the US and around the world. These types of claims can typically be categorized as a product liability claim. For more information on these types of claims see our section link above,
The idea for these comfortable shoes was the brainchild of three friends on a boating trip. They were complaining that they needed a better, more sure-footed shoe for boating that was also waterproof. By the end of their weekend they had developed the croc shoe for boaters. It was an instant hit. They have since continued to expand their footwear selection to offer a line of comfortable medical shoes and of course, offered a multiple colors to satisfy everyone’s taste.
Since Britney Spears bought a pair in every color, everyone from celebrities to President George Bush has worn these hot shoes. Though most adults don’t have any problems wearing them, there have been an increasing number of serious escalator accidents, all involving children wearing these shoes. Typically, what happens is called, “shoe entrapment” and that is where the shoe gets caught in the “teeth” of the bottom of the escalator and also the cracks between the steps and the side of the elevator.
The Metro in Washington, DC, the largest American subway system has had so many accidents that it is putting up warning notices about wearing these types of shoes. The poster doesn’t mention crocs by name, but they do have a photo of a crocodile with a line through it. A metro spokesman said they have been having 4 or 5 of these incidents every week and this is what prompted them to post signs.
Another warning sign can be seen by customers of American Girl, an upscale toy store chain owned by Mattel. They warn consumers wearing crocs to use elevators instead of escalators for safety. In addition, last month the Japanese government has warned the public not to wear crocs, or similar products, on escalators due to safety concerns of over 40 accidents within the month of August alone.
Last year, the U.S. Product Safety Commission confirms that there were approximately 10,000 escalator accidents. However, they were due to many various causes, such as falls, slips and shoe-related problems. If you feel that you are riding the escalator correctly, but that your shoes are still getting caught, you can report an unsafe product on the CPSC’s website, at www.cpsc.gov and click on the link to “report an unsafe product”
Escalators are statistically safer then stairs, in fact, over 90 billion ride them annually. However, we must remember that an escalator is a six-ton moving machine and should be treated with respect. Pay attention as you might with a moving bus! Since they are apart of normal everyday life, here are some safety tips from the Elevator/Escalator Safety Foundation:
When entering an escalator, especially with young children, hold their hand and stay as far to the center of the step as possible. Grasp the handrail and face forward at all times. Don’t lean against the side rails or place shoes near them. When exiting, step off the moving stairs promptly, and step over the teeth at the bottom. Don’t shuffle off or hesitate because there can be people directly behind you.
For additional children’s safety tips while riding escalators, visit the safety foundation’s website at www.eesf.org. for kid-friendly tips and suggestions.
Crocs said it is working in the US with the Elevator/Escalator Safety Foundation on public education initiatives. In the meantime, watch your kids on escalators and don’t let the crocs bite.