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Three-year-old boy’s finger trapped in escalator at City Plaza in Geylang

In a harrowing incident at City Plaza mall, Geylang, a three-year-old boy’s finger became trapped in an escalator. Prompt SCDF response and subsequent safety measures ensured the child’s rescue and medical attention. The incident, captured on video, highlighted concerns over escalator safety and user behavior.

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SINGAPORE: An incident occurred at City Plaza Mall in Geylang (2 Jan), where a three-year-old boy fell, and his finger became entangled in an escalator.

The incident, captured on video, circulated on social media, with one of the clips reposted on sgfollowsall Instagram on Wednesday (3 Jan).

In the video shared across various social media platforms, the footage shows the young boy and his grandmother seated on the halted escalator steps, with two individuals engaging with them.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was notified of the incident around 2:15 pm and promptly responded.

Utilizing rescue equipment, the SCDF successfully freed the child from the escalator’s grip and subsequently transported him to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for medical attention.

The mother of the boy, identified only as Ms Sonia, recounted the incident to The Straits Times on 3 January.

While overseas, she received a distressing call from her mother detailing the occurrence.

According to Ms Sonia, the incident unfolded when the boy, while riding the escalator from the second floor to the first level, refused to hold his grandmother’s hand and instead grasped the handrail.

Unexpectedly, the handrail shifted backwards, causing the boy to fall, with his finger becoming ensnared in the escalator.

Fortunately, the escalator halted immediately, and mall staff swiftly came to their aid.

Despite sustaining only a minor cut on his finger, Ms Sonia expressed apprehension about future escalator use with her son, citing the traumatic experience.

Swift response and safety measures ensured after child’s escalator mishap at City Plaza mall

In response to ST inquiries, a representative from Ohmyhome Property Management, the managing agent for City Plaza’s management corporation strata title (MCST), provided details about the incident that occurred at 2:10 pm, stating that the boy “slipped and fell,” resulting in his finger becoming trapped in the escalator’s step.

The spokesperson emphasized that mall staff promptly attended to the boy and his family, offering reassurance and informing them that assistance was en route.

Following the incident, the escalator was immediately cordoned off for safety precautions.

Within 10 minutes, both the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and an ambulance arrived to provide necessary aid to the boy.

Post-rescue, the escalator remained halted until the designated escalator maintenance company conducted a thorough inspection and subsequently reactivated it.

Expressing well wishes for the boy’s swift recovery, the spokesperson extended gratitude to the SCDF and a member of the public who offered assistance, acknowledging their prompt response to the situation.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) reported that the boy’s right hand had become trapped between the escalator steps and the side panel.

In response to the incident, BCA dispatched engineers to inspect the escalator, but no safety lapses or concerns were identified during their investigation.

The BCA affirmed that the gap between the escalator step and the side panel adhered to safety standards, and the safety switches on the escalator were found to be functioning correctly.

Consequently, with no irregularities detected, the escalator was given clearance to resume operation following thorough maintenance checks.

Netizens voice safety concerns and legal considerations amidst the incident

Several social media comments from netizens have emerged regarding the incident.

One user issued a general reminder, emphasizing the importance of instructing children not to play on escalators and always ensuring they hold onto their parents’ hands.

Additional comments expressed gratitude that the boy’s injury was limited to stitches, highlighting the potential severity of the incident.

A user shared a personal account of witnessing a similar incident years ago, where a young girl’s hand was caught, emphasizing the distressing nature of such occurrences.

Furthermore, a user raised concerns about the escalator’s safety, noting instances of the handrail moving backwards unexpectedly.

They suggested potential legal action against the mall, expressing shock at the perceived irregularities despite claims of thorough inspections.

BCA attributes 97% of escalator incidents to “improper user behaviour”

Between January and October 2023, 632 escalator incidents were reported, with 97% attributed to user behavior, according to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

BCA identified the top 5 causes for 65% of incidents, including users carrying bulky items, improper movement, users not holding the handrail, physical conditions, and entrapment of body parts.

Incidents involving bulky items, like prams and luggage, constituted 17% of cases, with over half involving individuals aged 55 or older.

Improper movement or failure to hold the handrail accounted for 16% of cases.

BCA emphasized the need for targeted initiatives to promote safe escalator usage, urging awareness and caution, especially among the elderly and parents of young children.

With a high rate of incidents linked to user behaviour, BCA encourages everyone to be cautious while using escalators.

The agency plans to work closely with the community and industry partners to enhance safety awareness.

Additionally, BCA emphasizes the importance of using lifts for individuals with heavy items or limited mobility, highlighting parental supervision for young children on escalators.

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