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Should Crocs Be Banned?

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A mom says she's suing Crocs to keep kids safe.

Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding.

He's not the only one.

When three-year-old Lexi's foot was severely injured on an escalator, mom Alison Pregliasco blamed the Crocs she was wearing.

According to Pregliasco, her daughter had three broken toes, including one that was severed to the bone and was contaminated with escalator grease. Unfortunately, Lexi's injury is not rare; according to pediatrician Dr. Gwenn, stories of children's Croc-soled feet literally being sucked into escalators have been reported as early as 2006. Now in a lawsuit with the famed shoe company, Alison is determined to stop this tragic trend. Momlogic got an exclusive statement from Alison and her attorney:

"From the moment my twins were born, I have read the warnings which accompanied the toys my children play with, the cribs they sleep in, the child car seats they ride in. I bought my daughter her Crocs and let my daughter wear them because she loved them and because she never wanted to take them off. I did not know, before she was injured, that this had happened to so many other moms and their children. Had I known -- had Crocs put a simple warning tag on their shoes -- my daughter would have worn them by the pool or on the beach, but not as an everyday shoe, and certainly not on an escalator.

There is no sound more awful than the painful scream of one's child. When I learned just how many moms had heard that same type of scream from their child, when I saw how many times this had happened before and how many times Crocs has refused to accept responsibility, I knew something had to be done.

What should have been that perfect trip to Disneyworld turned into an absolute nightmare of ambulances, hospitals, surgery and my daughter confined to a wheelchair. There are no doubt hundreds of thousands of children out there who still wear their Crocs day and night unaware of what we now know.

I just hope the warning gets out there to the parents of those children before another child screams and before another case makes the headlines."

Said Attorney Andrew M. Laskin:

"Over the past several months, I have heard the same horrifying tale again and again. Intelligent and responsible moms, all of whom bought Crocs for their kids mistakenly believing, as Crocs contends, they were ideal shoes for everyday use. Tragically, when they heard their child scream, all of these parents learned the hard way, the painful way, that Crocs are inherently dangerous on escalators.

In every case, the mom or dad was watching the child and the child was holding on to handrail of the escalator. The kids were not playing around; they were just moving from one floor to another when their Croc made contact with the side of the escalator. Crocs are not flip-flops--they are shoes which are strapped onto the child's foot. They are designed and marketed as having great traction yet they are soft enough to crush in your hand. That combination of characteristics makes Crocs very dangerous when they make contact with the side of a moving escalator. The shoe sticks and the sheer force of the escalator and the friction of the caught Croc sucks the child's strapped and trapped foot down into the mechanism of the escalator.

That is why we see, time and time again, many children (in the US, Canada, worldwide) suffering the same type of injury and the same ripping of their Crocs. For those who believe these incidents are comparable to loose shoelace injuries, nothing could be further from the truth.

Crocs has, for years, sought to deflect blame by stating these incidents were the fault of the mothers and fathers, escalator companies, airports and others, none of whom are to blame. It is yet another classic case of a corporation putting profits over people, and those people are young children.

The Trade Ministry of Japan, one of the most technologically advanced nations on earth, has specifically ordered Crocs to do something about their shoes because of children being injured on escalators. Our lawsuit will expose what Crocs has known yet long sought to conceal--that its shoes are dangerous on escalators, that these injuries to children could and should have been prevented by a simple warning tag, and that Crocs' blame-game "defense" is an offense to responsible parents everywhere."

Crocs spokesperson Tia Mattson had this to say, "Consumer satisfaction, including consumer safety, is a top priority for us at Crocs. Escalator safety is an issue we take very seriously. Safety experts say several factors can contribute to accidents, including escalator design and maintenance, loose clothing or untied shoelaces, footwear and improper use. The most important safety factor is safe riding behavior. Parents should supervise and assist children. Riders of all ages should step on and off escalators and moving walkways with caution, stand only in the middle of the steps, hold on to the handrail, and ensure shoelaces are tied and loose clothing is clear of steps and sides.More information on escalator safety is available from the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation."

Will this lawsuit stop you from buying Crocs for your kids?


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52 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kimberly March 16, 2009, 7:42 PM

Good for someone, I guess, to be “doing something” about kids wearing these shoes all the time. But it seems so odd to me that anyone thinks of them as everyday shoes. One look at them and I figured they were beach or gardening shoes only. I’m personally far more interested in the fact that these shoes do not provide good support to a growing food and for that reason alone should not be everyday wear.

Uly March 16, 2009, 8:08 PM

Of course, this sort of accident can happen with any footwear. As a young child I watched my father pull the shoes off another child who had gotten his laces stuck in the side of the escalator. It’s not uncommon.

You should push your local businesses-with-escalators to attach a simple, inexpensive device, like a sideways brush (I forget the name of it) to the sides of their escalators. This keeps the foot from touching the sides, and reduces or eliminates the risk that anything will get stuck in the mechanism there.

Bec Thomas March 16, 2009, 9:19 PM

Escalators have had problems with shoes and clothing for years, this isn’t a new trend that popped up with the advent of Crocs. I think escalator safty should be looked at more and devices that prevent items from being sucked in installed, something that hasn’t been done with alot of escalators.

My kids wear crocs to the beach and one of mine like to wear them more but none of them wear then for everyday wear. I do because of a foot problem I have and Crocs are the most comfortible for me.

Chrissy March 16, 2009, 10:44 PM

Duh! They weren’t meant for everyday shoes! Just because they became trendy, everyone bought them without thinking. They based on gardening shoes.
Just like Uggs were made for cold winters not for wearing with short-short is in the warm weather.
But some celebrity was photographes wears and boom! Now everyone does.
Same with Crocs.
I’m sorry that the kids got injuried this bad but it’s an over reaction to sue the company. The parents were the decision makers. They bought them. Did you even ask the sales clerk about the proper use or intended use? Or did they just have to prove to their kids how “cool” and “hip” they are?

mommy who loves crocs March 16, 2009, 11:09 PM

I for one love crocs and so do my kids. They’re easy for them to put on and off by themselves and for my son who has terrible eczema on his feet, they’re the most comfortable shoes we’ve found. I DO NOT ride escalators with my children. IMHO, escalators are dangerous anyway and I admit to being a bit afraid of them myself. I always seek out an elevator when I’m out with my kids. This has nothing to do with Crocs or whether or not they’re being used properly. For goodness sakes, it’s a shoe people! Lots of people wear shoes I think are ugly or stupid, that doesn’t mean I can tell them they’re wearing them wrong or in the wrong place. This is all on the escalator companies and the lack of interest in spending any money to improve their product if they can put the blame off on someone else.
Just my 2 cents

Sophia March 17, 2009, 1:21 AM

I love crocs and they are extremely comfortable. Everyday wear in the warm summer months? Sure. You can wear the cheap kind of flip flops everyday. How is it different with crocs?

Anything can happen on an escalator and it doesn’t matter what brand or type of shoe it is. Crocs can’t be the blame for it. The problem here is the escalator.

deaddrift March 17, 2009, 2:35 AM

Well, if one child lost a toenail, then that kind of shoes should DEFINITELY be banned, immediately.

Duh.

tracey March 17, 2009, 8:40 AM

There is a warning for you not to wear sneakers or sandles on esculators, the mom that is sueing is she sueing those companies who make other shoes? Any informed parent knows esculators are dangerouse and should only be used as a last possible resort when travling with children, always use the elevator. This is the problem with America we all want to sue everyone to make money!!!

dee March 17, 2009, 10:04 AM

the problem is surely the escalator. there should be warnings at every entry to an escalator to avoid the sides. any type of shoes especially rubber or plastic can get caught. we had an incident on an escalator;fortunately only the stroller wheel got caught and no the child was not in it.

ugh March 17, 2009, 2:19 PM

Another case of stupid parents not paying attention to what their kids are doing and not teaching them to pay attention themselves. When I was a kid, my parents told me to pay attention to where my shoes and shoelaces were on an escalator as early as I can remember. Back then, suing someone when your child gets hurt was unheard of. What in the hell are parents teaching their kids this days? That the manufacturers of everything we come into contact with are responsible for keeping us safe and if we get hurt, we can just sue them? Escalators have been injuring people for years. The solution would be to invent an escalator that doesn’t move. Yeah, it would be a lot safer and it’s free exercise for our already overweight society. Wow, what a great invention…

Ivan March 18, 2009, 3:26 PM

This is just another example of what we call in the UK, a desire for a “Granny State” - that is, an abdication of responsibility of parents, in favour of state-controlled legislation to keep everyone safe. Many parents have become mindless automatons - drooling as they drift along, totally unaware that we live in a dangerous world. It is only when they smell “compensation” that they become awake, and aware of “their rights” and associated cash.

Deborah March 20, 2009, 11:11 PM

SAFE SHOES written Nov. 15, 2008
I recently read another story about a small child sustaining severe injuries to his foot while riding an escalator at the Atlanta Airport with his father. The boy’s father is suing Crocs for 2 million dollars. The 4-year old boy was wearing a pair of Crocs, the well-known, easy on/easy off soft shoes on everyone’s feet nowadays. But should they be on children’s feet? I don’t think so. Perhaps there is a desire to create mini-me’s and parents are dressing their children like them, giving them expensive, brain cell-irradiating cell phones and filling them up on calorie and caffeine laden Frappuccinos. Do parents want a smaller version of themselves or do they just think the shoes are cute?

Shouldn’t a child, who has only been walking for a relatively short time wear supportive, durable shoes to teach proper gait, protect the foot and inform proper posture and spinal growth? Shouldn’t they wear these protective, soft-soled shoes while climbing on play structures at the park, walking long distances and navigating through a busy airport and on escalators? I cringe every time I see a child at the park running and climbing in flip-flops or Crocs. It’s an accident waiting to happen. Will Crocs get sued again when a child falls off a climbing wall because her shoe fell off on the way up? You wouldn’t wear flip-flops on a construction site. You would choose a steel-toed boot. Would you sue the flip-flop company if you broke your toes when a 2 x 4 fell on your foot?

Are parents sacrificing safety and health for style and trends? There are some very fashionable age appropriate shoes on the market today. A 6 year-old girl should never wear platform sandals and a 4 year-old boy should only wear Crocs to the beach or backyard for short durations. Look to companies like See Kai Run, Pediped, StrideRite or GapKids for a trendy spin on your old fashioned proper children’s shoe. You wouldn’t let your child ride a bike without a helmet, why not protect him from top to bottom? I feel terrible for the children who have suffered these foot injuries. They look to their parents to keep them safe and make the best decisions until they are old enough to do so for themselves. They trust us, not the shoe companies.

If anyone else is to blame I propose that it’s our pediatricians. They are not making recommendations for proper shoes at the various stages of development for our children. My 14 month-old baby has seen two different pediatricians neither of which made any comment about foot support. They only asked about reaching milestones, such as - when he started walking. That should have been the segue into a discussion about shoes. When I was a baby our pediatrician talked with my mom about proper shoes, gait and posture. I happen to think that pediatrician’s today need to stay on top of trends and guide parents to make better decisions in regards to their children’s health and well-being.

Ju March 23, 2009, 8:49 PM

I don’t like Crocs because 1, they’re hideous and 2: Everything here is concrete. My daughter is not a “mini-me” and has her own sense of style(who gives a kid coffee product anyway?).
If we’re out and about, my daughter wore the appropriate type of shoe (she’s into her rainboots right now, they’re solid with fabric on the inside, no sucking into escalators! and easy for her to slip on and off, oh the joys of independence!) Nothing with laces, nothing too soft, something I can pull her foot out of in an emergency. If we go on an escalator, I keep control of her. I’ve seen too many parents let their kids bounce around, messing with the sides, putting their feet there, purposely bumping their feet into the feeder at the bottom … When she was smaller I lifter her over the feeder on the escalator, now she lifts her feet to walk over it. If a 2.5 year old can learn this, I’m pretty sure an older child can, too.

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Doofedaregolo August 22, 2010, 12:35 AM

I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way.

Crissy Yusef September 28, 2010, 8:32 PM

I’m going to write about this same thing on my blog. Thanks!

Tarah Jaudon September 28, 2010, 9:46 PM

Very interesting points. Thanks!

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Junie Jennrich November 23, 2010, 3:36 PM

Hi, can we post this article to the website?


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