The Malaysian Star reported that a five year old girl fell five stories to her death at the Kenanga Wholesale City Mall in Kuala Lumpur, this afternoon.
Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department director Khiruddin Drahman confirmed that prior to the incident the girl was on an escalator with her parents and sibling. He added that “They were ready to climb it (escalator) when she slipped and fell through a gap near the escalator. “At that time, her mother was holding another baby, while the victim was left on her own. “She died on the spot after falling,” “Investigation is still ongoing. We will check whether the mall has adhered to safety regulations,”.
The five year old girl at the centre of today’s fatality is the second child to lose their life after falling from a moving escalator in a Kuala Lumpur mall in less than 12 months. Seven year old Nurul Emielda Nadia Sallehuddin died after falling from the third floor of The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City in May 2014.
Shortly after the death of young Nurul Emielda Nadia Sallehuddin last year ,several shopping centre malls put up safety warning notices near escalators warning parents of the danger of children using escalators alone and playing near them.
How do we prevent a similar tragedy occurring?
- Building codes for balustrades and barriers need to be reviewed. Did the shopping centre comply with the current Malaysian building code for balustrades and escalators?
- Was there a gap between the end of balustrade and the escalator?
- Was the speed of the escalator suitable for the pedestrian traffic? Friday afternoons are often busy, was the escalator over crowded?
- Was there signage in the area warning parents of the dangers of unaccompanied children on escalators?
- Was there an adequate amount of lifts available to families? Taking young children on escalators can be extremely difficult.
Tips for using escalators with young children
Hold your child’s hand so you can guide him or her on and off the escalator. If you have two young children, take the extra time and use a lift.
Explain to your child that escalators are not play equipment. Be extra vigilant with your child around escalators. Hold their hand and don’t let them out of your sight.
Tell your child to stand still and face forward. If they sit on the steps their fingers and feet are closer to the escalator’s rotating parts and could get stuck.
Make sure that your child’s fingers don’t get stuck in the gaps of the escalator’shandrail, and teach them to avoid the edges of steps, where entrapment can occur.
Make sure you or your child does not lean over the rail, they could get their head/hair stuck between an overhang and fall over the balustrade.
Got a stroller? Take the elevator instead. If you must take the escalator,take the child out of the stroller and hold them on the escalator, someone else must then hold the empty stroller on the escalator.
Check your child’s clothing. Make sure his or her shoelaces are tied, and don’t letthem drag their coat, dress, trousers or scarf on the ground.
DO NOT let your kids wear sandals, crocs, thongs or similar on escalators. Theseare a known hazard and can very easily get caught on the escalator and pulled under with your child’s foot attached!
If your child gets stuck, hit the escalator’s emergency stop button (it’s usually at the top and bottom of the escalator), or get someone to do it for you (yell at a passer by) if you aren’t near it.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both children after their devastating deaths.
Maree has over five years of experience in Occupational Health and Safety and in the development of safety standards, training workshops and improvement initiatives. She is passionate about health, safety and education. Maree, a mother of two children, has a Advanced Diploma in OHS and will be graduating soon with a B.Sc. (HSE) from Australia.