Leaving a crowded shopping mall one day, I heard a child screaming particularly loudly. A little girl was sitting on a ledge, crying uncontrollably, with BLOOD streaming down her foot! Her father was trying in vain to console her. Her mother was trying (also in vain) to control the bleeding. As I carried on down the escalator, I looked back to see a distinct pair of shoes lying on the ground…
An unmistakable design.
Crocs shoes have been blamed for numerous cases of escalator-related injuries. Those particularly at risk are young children, with kids as young as 2 wearing them. What happens is the shoes sometimes get caught in the “teeth” of escalators, resulting in horrific injuries and sometimes permanent damage.
The company has mainly responded in 2 ways:
- Inserting safety tags into packaging. Attached to the shoes, you’ll find a bunch of warning tags in as many as 6 different languages. The shoe design, however, remains essentially unchanged.
- Suggesting that the accidents are a result of the escalators, or even parents who are unable to control their overly playful children.
Comforting isn’t it?
Watch the following video of “Crocs Safety Scrutinized” featured on CBS News in September 2008. There’s some pretty gruesome foot injuries, but towards the end, a presenter gives a useful safety suggestion.
She recommends putting the strap of the shoe facing forward so that if your child IS unfortunate enough to get his/her shoe caught somewhere, his/her foot can escape easier. But then again, you wouldn’t put your child in any footwear that’s potentially dangerous, right?
I always thought this kind of thing is just stuff you read about in the news, till I actually came across it myself. Next time you’re out shopping, see if you can spot any kids in Crocs shoes. Are there any other unnecessary safety hazards you can think of?
Technology. Useful, sure, but is it safe for kids?
We all know that Wi-Fi allows connecting to the internet via microwaves, or Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). But did you know that low dosages of EMR for long periods of time could be as hazardous as high dosages of EMR for short periods of time?
- There’s no escape. Look around you, Wi-Fi is everywhere! Wi-Fi enabled homes, schools, offices, cafes, etc, ensure that almost everybody is constantly within range of a constant dose of EMR.
- Too much EMR = bad! Prolonged exposure to radiofrequency and microwave radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies has been linked to interference with short-term memory and concentration, sleep disruption, headache and dizziness, fatigue, immune disruption, skin rashes and changes in cardiac function. Have a quick look at The Bioinitaitive Report if you don’t believe me (I’d recommend just clicking on the Summary for the Public, unless you’re really clever and/or a scientist).
- Children are at greater risk. Children have thinner skulls, and their brain and nervous systems are still in development right into late adolescence. That’s why they’re more at risk to things like H1N1, and that’s why they’re more susceptible to EMR.
- If it were dangerous, authorities would do something right? Some are, for instance The Austrian Medical Association, the German government and the European Environment Agency. However, progress is limited, especially with inadequate and outdated internationally accepted guidelines set in the 1990s still in place. Malaysia is probably still racing to make sure the country is 100% Wi-Fi enabled…
- Is your child being exposed to EMR? See point number 1.
So what can we do to protect children from EMR? For now, we can only go through the trouble of not using Wi-Fi at home, and perhaps asking schools and libraries not to use Wi-Fi as well. Children should also only use mobile phones in the event of an emergency.
You can also read more about more about Wi-Fi hazards in the press.
Find out if your home, workplace and your child’s school falls within a Wi-Fi coverage area. Do you think it’s OK if it is? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!