According to Web MD, escalator injuries are increasing in people 65 and older. In fact, between 1991 and 2005, approximately 40,000 in this age group suffered escalator-related injuries that sent them to the hospital. In that same period, escalator injuries doubled in that age group. As escalator injury attorneys, we are well aware of the risks of escalator accidents for the elderly. Here we explore the reasons for the rise in incidents with some advice to help avoid escalator injuries.
Rising Escalator injuries
Although the reason for increased escalator-related injuries is unclear, it could be related to people 65 and older becoming healthier and more active. As a result, they might be out more often and in public places where escalators are used. If they are out more often and using escalators more frequently it makes sense an increase in accidents would be noted.
Common Escalator-Related Injuries
A study on escalator-related injuries found 92% of those treated for escalator-related injuries 65 and over were released from the hospital. Although this is good news, it doesn’t take away from the fact that they suffered injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to fractures and strains to their head or legs.
Accidents Over 80
There is an increased risk for hospital visits due to escalator injuries for people in their 80s compared to those in their 60s according to Consumer Product Safety Commission data. The information was collected by 98 U.S. hospitals and therefore did not include injuries where people chose not to go to the hospital. In most cases, however, the injuries occurred due to slips, trips, and falls stepping on or off the escalator.
Causes of Accidents
The slips, trips, and falls were often caused due to issues with balance or dizziness. However, there were also cases where people were injured by something getting caught on the escalator such as clothing or a bag. There were even cases involving collisions between people.
Avoiding Escalator Accidents for the Elderly
When used properly, escalators, in general, are quite safe. However, for those over 65, it makes sense to take extra precautions to help avoid accidents. Safe tips for elderly adults using escalators include:
- Pay close attention when stepping on or off an escalator to ensure you time things properly when you begin your ride or come to an end
- Always hold the handrail until you come to the end of the escalator
- Remain standing instead of trying to walk up or down a moving escalator
- If you are carrying packages, avoid riding an escalator if at all possible
- Avoid wearing loose garments or clothing with things such as toggles and drawstrings that can get caught in the escalator
- Check your shoelaces to make sure they are tied and secure before stepping onto an escalator
- If you have experienced dizziness or balance issues, avoid using escalators and find an elevator instead
- Always remain facing forward until you reach the end of the escalator
- Do not attempt to use an escalator if you walk with a cane or a walker
Sharing these tips with your elderly loved ones will help keep them safe.
If you or a loved one are injured on an escalator speak to an escalator injury attorney to learn about your rights.