Going up: escalator injuries

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The rate of escalator-related injuries among seniors has doubled between 1991 and 2005 – but most are not serious, according to a review of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports.

Nearly 40,000 elderly people experienced an injury during that time, usually caused by a slip or a fall. Despite the increased number of injuries, only 8% are serious enough to merit a trip to the hospital, according to researchers. Injuries to the leg were the most common type. The report was published in the March issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Older adults with mobility or balance issues should use caution while using escalators, warns co-lead researcher Joseph O'Neil, M.D., MPH, of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Unfortunately, the data shows that sometimes seniors use “reckless behavior” on escalators, co-lead author Dr. Greg Steele, associate professor of epidemiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said. One of the injured seniors fell while pushing his way past a wheelchair that was blocking his way.