Children, Crocs And Escalators Combine To Produce Mangled Feet

Crocs are both extremely popular and extremely good at gripping surfaces, which can become a problem when they are combined with small children and moving escalators.

According to a discussion going on over at Wise Bread, more and than a few children have been seriously injured when their Crocs or other rubber clogs stuck to a moving elevator. A few children have actually had toes ripped off by the escalator.

That this was even possible would not have occurred to us, so we thought we’d pass the information along to those of you who have kids. It’s probably not a good idea to allow your children to wear these shoes on escalators. The parent of a recently injured child wrote to Wise Bread:

There is no point in raising arguments along the lines of escalators being inherently dangerous for children, or of the possibility of similar accidents with every other kind of footwear, or of parents being solely responsible for the safety of their children when under their care. The fact is that so many children have been hurt because the traction of their clogs is unsuitable for escalators. This danger had come to our attention prior to the accident involving my very own daughter, which is why we are always very careful when making her ride the escalator with her Crocs on. She even constantly recites the line “stay on the center,” as we always remind her to do so. But it just took a millisecond for us to fall victim to an already familiar mishap. Being careful just wasn’t enough.

No Crocs or other rubber clogs on escalators. Got it!

Wise Bread also linked this news video about the issue. It offers Croc’s official response:

“Crocs shoes are completely safe. The popularity of our shoes has helped draw attention to a long-existing issue that we think is very important–escalator safety”

More children hurt in Crocs-related accidents. [Wise Bread]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ptkdude says:

    How about “no Crocs ever”? They’re ugly and they come right off (just like flip flops), which means you’re much more likely to injure you feet or stumble when wearing them as opposed to properly-tied or -velcroed shoes.

  2. Ew. Shiver me timbers.

    I never got the appeal of Crocs. They’re like Tevas without the utility – good for a hospital staff, I guess, but don’t those things breed bacteria like the dickens?

  3. stevemis says:

    More dangerous Chinese junk, just what we needed!

  4. dbeahn says:

    @stevemis: I think Crocs are dangerous Mexican junk, but I could be wrong…

    Still, I live in Florida – flip-flops are far too common, so I don’t see where they’re more or less dangerous than crocs. Personally, I don’t wear either often, but I HATE the “thwap thwap thwap” of flip flops, so when I do wear that kind of slip on shoe, I wear my crocs.

    I have also seen a lot of hobbit-ugly feet in flip flops. I WISH those people would wear crocs!

  5. mollymoose says:

    I, too, doubted the wonder of crocs — until someone gave my 3-year-old a pair. Yes, they’re ugly, but he can get them on all by himself. That said, the American Girl store in NYC has a sign at the escalators saying no slip-on shoes allowed — now I know why….

  6. MeOhMy says:


    don’t those things breed bacteria like the dickens?

    No. They’re made of nonporous rubber. They don’t absorb sweat and they can be washed and sterilized.

    I don’t really understand the mechanism behind these injuries even after reading some of the links. It sounds like one minute you’re standing on the escalator, the next minute your foot is getting sucked into the crack. What happens in between?!

  7. Aladdyn says:

    Does anyone know exactly how these injuries are happening? Since they say something about having their kid keep their feet in the center I assume that it has something to do with getting their feet stuck on the side of the escalator as opposed to at the top or bottom. Since I have kids that wear crocs I assume that they will be getting on an escalator sooner or later with them. it would be nice how to exactly what to watch for.

  8. MalichiDemonos says:

    Step1 – buy new escalators
    Step2 – pick up your feet
    Setp3 – watch where you stick your feet

    when i was younger i always got yelled at for not picking up my feet. This is a good reason why. also… i do belive the new ones are actually built better then the ones from… say… the 1980’s /early 90’s

  9. savvy9999 says:

    I’m having a hard time understanding the mechanics of the problem. Are the shoes (and feet in them) getting jammed between the moving stairs and the stationary side of the escalator? Are they getting jammed at the top (or bottom) where the risers retract again into the floor? Or are they actually adhesioning (or “sticking”) to the middle of the stair tread and kids cannot physically lift their feet off the ground?

    My guess would be that these shoes are too big for kids’ feet and they don’t realize that they are stepping near or on the unfriendly parts of the escalator.

  10. yahonza says:

    I definitely won’t let my 1 YO daughter on any escalators until she is a lot older, thanks.

  11. SOhp101 says:

    I believe it’s children’s Crocs getting too near the sides and gripping very well to both the side and the ‘floor’ of the escalator.

    I remember being deathly scared of escalators’ sides and entrance/exits since my cousin’s hair got stuck in it once and quite a few of them ripped out of her scalp. Even now I pick up my legs a bit more than I need to when entering/exiting.

  12. emax4 says:

    I don’t know what the underside tread looks like, but maybe they could learn to aim their feet diagonally away from each other. Maybe I’m thinking the situation is much like the escalator chase scene in “Blades of Glory” where their skates get caught in the escalator step ribbing.

  13. Justin-Ryan says:

    Children and escalators have been a dangerous combination for years. In the 80’s and 90’s it was drooping shoelaces falling in the cracks on the side (where the moving stairs meet the side-rails) and pulling little feet down into the machinery.

    The specific problem with Crocs seems to be what they are made of. The rubber is non-slip (a nice feature to avoid slipping and falling) but when it rubs up against the side-rails, it doesn’t slide easily like a leather shoe would. Instead, it skids on the side, like dragging a dry squeeze down a window, and distorts. With the rubber stretching and distorting, it gets pulled down and caught in between the stairs and the side walls, and drags the child’s foot down into the machinery.

    The best thing to do is to keep your kids off the escalator, but if they have to ride one, make sure they stand in the middle of the stair and don’t move; a stationary foot 12″ from the side of the stair isn’t going to get pulled down. It’s when they are dancing around singing “Please, mommy, please!” and letting their feet rub the sides that they’re going to end up minus a couple toes.

  14. jamar0303 says:

    @ptkdude: If they come right off, then why were these people not able to get their kids’ feet out of them when they got stuck?

  15. SaraAB87 says:

    I would think the traction between various brands of crocs type sandals, since most kids just have the fake ones anyways, would vary. I would also think that flip flops and heeleys would be a much bigger hazard on escalators than these, don’t even get me started on what could happen if a kid on heeleys meets an escalator!

    Most croc’s-wearers here are children. They accomodate children’s wide feet nicely, they are cleaner than flip flops, can be rinsed off when dirty unlike flip flops that just pick up dirt plus they are cheap so you can throw them out after a summer of wearing to accomodate growing feet!

  16. Josh Smith says:

    Does this remind anyone of Mallrats?

    Brodie:”I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues!”
    T.S.:”What is with you today?”
    Brodie””Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish the kid harm, but his mother should suffer that horrific ordeal so she’ll learn how to manage her child!”
    T.S.:”That’s kind of a harsh lesson, don’t you think?”
    Brodie””Man, there’s not a year goes by, not one year, that I don’t here about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid that could have easily been avoided if some parent, I don’t care which one, but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator!”

    If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend adding it to your queue.

  17. bigTrue says:

    That kid is BACK on the escalator again!

  18. bigTrue says:

    Dammit Josh, you just beat me to it!

  19. Framling says:

    @CALIFORNIACAJUN: I’ve heard they’re actually terrible for hospital staff due to static electricity issues.

  20. @Josh Smith: +1 for the Mallrats line

    This whole thing reeks of Natural Selection. Serious. Parents, I’m also looking in your general direction.

  21. wring says:

    @savvy9999: adhesioning? adhering.

  22. wring says:

    @Josh Smith: my favorite movie!

  23. ptkdude says:

    @jamar0303: Because when the shoes get stuck in the escalator, either their toes are also stuck in the escalator, or the show has been pulled tight around the child’s foot and they can’t remove it (a la penny-jamming a door).

  24. icruise says:

    Safety issues aside, I think Crocs are THE ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen people actually wear in public.

  25. dbeahn says:

    @yahonza: I’m not a parent, but I can’t understand why these kids were riding an escalator at all. I mean, a 3 year old? Kids don’t have good motor skills. I’d pick up any kid under 6 years old on an escalator. If you have more than one kid too small for the escalator, then use the elevator instead.

    Seems to me this may be as much of a “parents aren’t safe for their kids on escalators” as a “Crocs aren’t safe on escalators” problem. One poster says there were 14,200 results when she typed “crocs,escalator,injury” in Google. Try changing that to “kids,escalator,injury” and the results jump to 314,000. Result 3 states “Escalator Injuries Common among Children”.

    I’m not seeing anything in the discussion that seems to “prove” anything other than since a LOT of people are apparently wearing Crocs, they also are wearing them when they get hurt.

  26. ahwannabe says:

    I learned to fear and respect the escalator when I was a small child in the early 70’s. I overheard one of my mother’s friends talking about getting her maxiskirt stuck in an escalator, and it ripped right in half. The skirt, not the escalator. Ever since then I’ve had nightmare visions of being stripped naked by the damn thing.

  27. pestie says:

    This is just God’s way of punishing those who offend His sight by wearing those abominations. I hope he starts doing something similar to drivers of the Scion xB (a.k.a. “a big toaster with wheels”) as well.

  28. rkm12 says:

    @Josh Smith: That’s one of my favorite scenes. ever.

  29. wesrubix says:

    This complaint is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard. I don’t remember any parents up in arms demanding all children wear slip-ons or velcro-ed shoes because of SHOE LACES. Heaven forbid some tassels. Clear case of idiots meeting machines. That’s you parents.

  30. majortom1981 says:

    why use the escalator at all? Stairs not good enough?

  31. Sudonum says:

    I have worked in many hotels in the Engineering Department. I can’t tell you how many times I have been deposed due to children getting injured on escalators. The most common accidents are shoe laces or loose articles of clothing getting stuck between the moving treads and the stationary sides. Small tennis shoes would get caught too. The tolerance for that gap is extremely tight and might not be properly maintained on these escalators. Otis Elevator has even tried “skirts” to keep peoples feet away from that gap. The results have been mixed.

    On a relate note, I would not recommend using an escalator that is not operating as “stairs”. There are times when the brakes have let loose and the escalator acts like a slide. I seem to recall it happening in a mall around Christmas several years back.

  32. allthatsevil says:

    I have to come to Crocs’ defense. I saw a post last week where everyone was bashing them and didn’t get a chance to say something.

    I’m in my third trimester, baby due in less than four weeks, and unlike most pregnant women I’ve never had a problem with my ankles swelling and my feet getting sore. I know this is due to the fact that I’ve been wearing Crocs almost every day since my first trimester. Also, take into account that I live in Houston, where our super-humid heat wave saw temperatures over 100 degrees last month. My Croc’s kept my feet cool and sweat-free.

    You may think the shoes are ugly, but they’re the most comfortable I’ve ever worn – and I’m not in the habit of wearing uncomfortable shoes.

    Another point in their favor (at least for me): The first time I ever saw Crocs was on my podiatrist’s feet. If they’re good enough for him, they’re good enough for me.

    As for the kids getting their toes taken off – they SHOULD be taught to fear and respect that escalator. I think the fault lies more with the parents than the shoes. I avoid escalators whenever possible anyway.

  33. SJActress says:

    Crocs are disgustingly ugly. Skechers makes a shoe that serves the same purpose, and it’s really cute.

    Go look up Skechers Cali shoe.

  34. CyGuy says:

    @majortom1981: It depends on the store/mall, many do not make stairs a reasonable option. Also, sometimes the number of elevators in a store/mall can be quite limited and if you have a smaller stroller it is possible to get the stroller up or down an escalator while getting one up or down a flight of stairs without the assistance of another adult is essentially impossible.

    One other point, it is not just the sides of the escalator step that pose a toe-crushing danger, it is also the back of the step. When you reach the top of the escalator the back slides down and if you had a non-stick shoe on the toe of the shoe could be pulled along with it. The gap here is usually quite small compared to the sides, but still worth avoiding when children’s toes are at stake.

  35. Spaztrick says:

    @JOSH SMITH: You tell ’em Steve-Dave!

  36. rockergal says:

    ok here is my take.
    Crocs are not ugly they are FUGLY
    Parents Hold your children on the escalators (you know the Kids and Moving Mechanisms thing doesn’t really mix well)
    USE THE FRIGGIN STAIRS! the exersize might do you good.

  37. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    is this video supposed to be in…tagalog(?).

  38. rickhamilton620 says:

    @rockergal: damm straight on the fugly thing. seriously, where i work i see customers coming in all the time in them. what’s worse? they seem to have very poor taste in color matching. I mean, bright yellow crocs with a dark green t-shirt and jean shorts? WTF?

  39. jook says:

    I have noticed that there seem to be an awful lot of people running around who would be otherwise normal looking if they weren’t wearing clown shoes…

    As for the point of the story, a bit more detail in the particulars would be helpful, as some others have stated, though the message from crocs applies too, I suppose. Another reader commented that they always got yelled at for not picking up feet… I think making sure you step well would help this, unless I’m misunderstanding the story.

  40. mconfoy says:

    @majortom1981: Stairs in the Washington Metro? You are funny, besides the fact that some would be a 5 or 6 floor climb.

    And besides, what’s a few kids mangled feet compared to the styling and comfort of crocs? They can amputate easy enough if there is a problem with the little ones.

  41. mac-phisto says:

    @wesrubix: actually back in the 80’s, that was a big PSA thing – children weren’t supposed to wear low-rise shoes with laces while riding on escalators.

    i remember being about 8 in a mall in new jersey & seeing a kid get stuck in one of those machines. i think that qualifies as one of the most horrifying experiences of my life.

    funny how the shoes always get blamed.

  42. savvy9999 says:

    @wring: Yes, adhering was the word I was looking for, couldn’t squeeze that brainfart out. Thanks.

  43. funkadelica says:

    Yep, let’s blame the manufacturers of Crocs and escalators for the stupidity of parents. I wonder why there’s no big exposé on untied shoelaces and escalators??

  44. synergy says:

    rotfl clown shoes! ftw

    I was just going to say that Crocs are only a fashion hazard…

  45. bombaxstar says:

    @Lin-Z: Yeah.

    Crocs are uglllyyy.