Thousands of families will flock to malls this holiday season. While it can be a magical experience for children, festive store displays and bustling crowds can create or compound risks for young shoppers. Parents Magazine urges families to consider the following mall safety strategies:
Store Display Safety Strategy:
- Play it safe — don’t let your child poke around displays and platforms. “Not all stores secure their mannequins and displays,” says Denise Dowd, M.D., chief of injury prevention at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, in Kansas City, Missouri. “That means they can easily topple over.”
- Discourage exploration. Your child may think that crawling underneath a display or clothing rack is tons of fun, but she could accidentally pull the whole thing down on top of her. Don’t let her reach for anything on a table above her sight line either — she might knock over heavy objects or cause the table to tip over.
Shopping Cart Safety Strategy:
- Keep your kid out of the basket. Buckle her into the fold-down seat of the cart instead (just make sure the safety belt works).
- Never allow your child to ride on the side or back of the cart.
- Don’t place your baby carrier on top of the cart. The weight of the carrier may make it tip over.
- Always stay within arm’s reach of your child when you go shopping — it only takes a second for her to fall or a cart to tip while your back is turned.
Escalator Safety Strategy:
- Hold your child’s hand so you can guide him on and off the escalator and make sure that his fingers don’t get stuck in the gaps of the escalator’s handrail.
- Tell your child to stand still and face forward. If he sits on the steps, his fingers and feet are closer to the escalator’s rotating parts.
- Got a stroller? Take the elevator instead.
- Check your child’s clothing. Make sure his shoelaces are tied, and don’t let him drag his coat or scarf on the ground….If your child gets stuck, hit the escalator’s emergency stop button (it’s usually at the top and bottom of the escalator), or yell at someone to do it for you if you aren’t near it.
- Never try to stop the doors from closing with your arm, foot, bag, or stroller.
- Mind the gap. Make sure that the elevator is level with the floor before you exit. Your child could trip, or his foot could get stuck in the gap.
- Stand at the back of the car if possible. Never let your child touch or lean on the elevator doors — that’s where most injuries happen.
Read the complete list of mall safety strategies at Parents Magazine.
Shopping Mall Patron Rights
Store and shopping mall owners have a responsibility to protect patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should a mall owner or management company have knowledge of faulty or broken equipment, a failed safety inspection, or a safety hazard, they have a duty to take measures to protect patrons. This responsibility is paramount when overseeing the safety of children. Should the property owner and management company fail in this critical responsibility, victims may elect to seek justice and pursue a legal claim for any injuries or wrongful deaths, which occur as a consequence.
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