Even before we started hearing news after news of little kids getting hurt in escalators, or parents injuring themselves (and let’s not forget the mother in China who died after saving her baby from getting swallowed by escalator gears) I’ve always been deathly afraid of escalators.
Watch: Mother in China Dies Saving Baby on Escalator
This fear became even more pronounced after having children and more so when people started learning how to take mobile videos of accidents in malls and sharing them.
When I was in my teens my mother came home one day obviously rattled and upset. She got home from having lunch with her best friend in a nearby mall.
“A baby boy died in the mall yesterday,” she told me as I opened our front door to greet her. Although we didn’t know the boy or his family, news of little babies dying always has a way of making people around feel rather sad.
The boy, around 3 years old, was apparently being cared for by her old grandmother. He was playing, running around the mall’s cinema floor, which is almost always on the very top floor of the malls where I’m from.
The boy ran fast towards the escalator, too fast for the old grandma to catch him. In a matter of seconds he managed to climb up the rail of the escalator, probably thinking it’d be fun to ride it all the way down (kinda what we do to our stairs at home). Sadly the boy lost balance and fell not on to the steps of the escalators but right smack into the gap between the escalators and the walls. You know that little gap that leads all the way down to the lowest level. So he fell. He fell five floors down from the top floor onto the cold hard tile on the basement floor. That’s a 5 storey drop in case you’re wondering.
The little angel broke bones all over, he was badly injured. They took him to the emergency room of the hospital located within the mall for treatment. He did survive for a couple of hours but his injuries were so bad that he died later that day.
The doctor who tried his best to save him was my mother’s best friend. And that was the purpose of their lunch date that day. My mother had to help her best friend process this tragic experience.
This was when I started thinking how unsafe malls and other commercial establishments are for little kids. And how a happy trip to the mall could become the worst day for some parents.
Since then I’ve been seeing glass panels installed along the side of the escalators. A constant reminder about the baby boy who died from the mall in my hometown.