Crocs
Reporter: Graeme Butler

"He just started screaming the boot actually folded up his toes towards the leg...he was just standing on the step holding my husband's hand".

What happened to three year old Kai Davies left him with his leg in plaster and has shocked his parents. Kai's Croc brand gumboot was caught and dragged into an escalator. His tiny foot was stuck inside.

"He's got a crush fracture in four places across his toes every one apart from his big toe just across basically where it's gone up and snapped" says Mum Sue.

It appears the soft rubber boot stuck to the side of the escalator and then became caught in the moving steps and got chewed up. Sue thought it was a one off freak accident until she did some research. It had happened before and has been reported in the U.S media.

Tim Hammond from law firm Slater and Gordon is investigating Kai's injury and says the popular shoes should carry a warning.

"Our investigation has revealed that they've been on notice that kids are injuring themselves as far back as October 2006. Now that's almost 2 years ago and it seems to us that very little if anything has happened on behalf of Crocs to warn people that this injury may occur by wearing this footwear".

Crocs wouldn't be interviewed about the escalator incidents but issued a statement saying;

We care very much about our customers' safety, comfort and satisfaction, so of course we've been distressed to see these reports. We're not prepared to comment on any of the specific cases, but we can tell you we have analyzed U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data, and there has been no increase in the frequency of injuries from escalator or moving walkway entrapments over the past five years, when tens of millions of pairs of Crocs shoes have been introduced in the U.S. We realize we are very visible both in the media and the marketplace, and this sometimes has the effect of attracting more attention than normal. This is actually one of the reasons we have undertaken this educational initiative. We know that our visibility will bring much more attention to this issue than it would receive otherwise.

Consumers will begin seeing the new message on hang tags within the next six months and we expect the program to be fully rolled out with our Spring 2009 line.

This is a voluntary educational campaign related to a long-existing issue that we have become aware of over time. As we learned more about this issue we started to look for ways we could help. That is a process that occurs over time. Second, the implementation of a worldwide hangtag for any purpose is a major undertaking for a company with our volume of production. Adding new processes to our manufacturing operations around the world and managing the many different languages and geographies that we service is no small task.

Our intent in adding the safety message is to educate consumers in the hope that we may ultimately influence the thought process of people when they ride an escalator. This would include individual behavior as well as the attention paid to the supervision of children. Many factors can contribute to escalator accidents, including loose clothing, untied shoelaces, improper maintenance and unsafe riding behavior, and if one or more of these factors are presented, accidents will be possible.

Safety experts say when riding escalators and moving walkways, you should stand in the center of the step; step on and off carefully; and avoid the side of steps and treads. The most important thing is for parents to supervise and assist children at all times as the vast majority of reported entrapments involve children. Those are the safety tips that will be included in our hang tag message. Escalator maintenance is also very important and we are looking for ways to become more involved on that issue as well.

Email us if you've had a similar experience tt@7perth.com.au