If your child has ever set foot on a lift, you need to read this… Have you discussed Elevator Safety Rules with your child?
Something scary happened yesterday. My 8yr old son got stuck in the elevator all alone. What was even scarier was the fact that he tried to climb out of it himself. The incident sparked a lot of anxiety in our household. He knew nothing about elevator safety and what to do if anything went wrong.
This week, a lot of scary things have been happening around him. The day before yesterday, he went cycling outside his safety limits. When he got home, he told me there were four strange guys hanging around and had wanted to talk to him. I had talked about stranger danger and safe codes just before he went downstairs to play. While returning, his lift got stuck between two floors and the inside doors opened revealing the wall shaft. The lights on the control panel had gone off so he thought the lift would drop to the ground with him inside. He saw the door of the upper floor and here is the scary part:
He climbed the door, pulled it ajar and started yelling for help.
The lift has a phone and a bell that he could have used but he was too frightened to think straight, he later told me. We were lucky that his father had just entered the building when he heard him screaming and I had (Thankfully) been near our front door to hear him right away. Z ran to get the janitor, while I went down to retrieve him.
When I arrived on the floor, the door of the lift was slightly crooked and D was cliff hanging on to it crying and screaming ‘Mom help me…. I am falling to the ground!’ I tried hard to pull the door open but it only slid a quarter of the way. That was enough to get him out. His shoes, jacket and scooter were still in the lift. We left it as it is for the men to handle it.
It was afterwards that it downed on us how scary the incident had been. The doors could have closed on him. The lift could have thrush upwards crushing him in the door. He could have been seriously injured!
This is the first time that he had gotten stuck but it can very easily happen again. We live on the fourth floor. My kids use those lifts to go up and down every day. There are children in every apartment in our building. It could have been someone else’s child there that day. Some child could have been seriously injured.
This happened last year. I wrote those words that night in my diary but I have thought about elevator safety every time I set foot on it with my kids. I remind my children the rules every few weeks but… my kids are not the only children who can get stuck in a lift. Every day, children go up and down from their homes or elsewhere. Sometimes, they are accompanied by adults but there are many who are old enough to go out themselves. My son is 9 years old. He isn’t that small but he isn’t big enough to know how to behave in a situation like this. The reason he didn’t know was because I hadn’t talked about this type of safety issue with him.
I remembered this incident for Civil Defence Week. When we talk about safety, topics like road safety and fire come to mind… we talk about stranger danger, etc too but many of us don’t think about Elevators. I was surprised to find that not much information is available even on google!
In today’s times, it is very common to choose to live in tall buildings with modern apartments. Although, there is so much convenience to living in a building and many come with state of the art amenities, accidents happen. Things breakdown. It is almost a normal thing to happen.
There are lifts in almost every building not to mention public places like hospitals and malls too. Have you taught your child how to get help if, God forbid, something as dangerous as this happened?
I was preparing my daughter’s presentation for her class and made some printables to go with it. We made some printables about elevator safety too. I am sharing these here with some positive parenting advice.
Here are a few things to talk about:
Elevator Safety Rules to Teach Children
Children love elevators. My son, ever since he was a toddler, has been crazy about them. Every where we went, he would be the first to run and press the button. Sometimes he would press the button even when we didn’t need to ride it. I am sure you can relate to this if you have a child like mine.
Over the years, I have noticed many annoying habits in kids (mine included!) when it comes to riding an elevator. They press too many buttons, rush in without an adult, hang from railings if any and they touch the sensors or the door. It is so easy to get your finger pinched in those doors!
I am mentioning a few things here that I have said to my kids that I am sure you would want to talk about with your children too. Talk to your child about the correct way to use the elevator. Here are a few pointers to guide you:
Elevator Safety Rules to teach children
- Don’t touch the buttons unnecessarily. Punch in only where you need to go.
- Stay clear of the sensors. Show your child where the sensors are.
- Show them the bell and the phone if there is any.
- Talk to them about how to remain calm till help arrives. It is okay to be scared. If they have someone smaller with them, ask them if they want to hold your hand.
- Stay clear of the doors.
- Don’t climb anything.
- Don’t hang from anything. Little children love to dangle from the inside railing. Always teach them why it is unsafe.
- Don’t poke anything anywhere.
- Keep your fingers, belongings and clothing away from the doors. Kids put things between the doors or stand in between to stop them from closing when they are waiting for someone. Teach them why this is wrong and how it is possible to get hurt.
- What info to tell on the phone when they need help. ‘What floor you are on if you know or what number was last seen on the screen. Who is with you. If you are okay or hurt.’
- Teach them their emergency contact numbers and names.
Another important thing to teach is to wash their hands as soon as they come home. People sneeze, hold on to the railing and punch those buttons with dirty hands. It is very easy to fall sick when kids use unclean hands to eat or touch themselves later. Always ask your child to wash his/her hands as soon as they are home.
Here is an example of what kind of instructions you can print and stick inside the elevator if you have one near you. Scroll down to download my version.
What to do if you get stuck in an elevator:
Teaching them to use the elevator safely is not enough. As it happened with my child, children don’t know what to do if they get stuck. Here is what to say to them. I have printed this for myself and shared it at my children’s school. These printables are free to use. Scroll down to click the download button.
If you are stuck in an Elevator
- Don’t use an elevator without adult supervision if you are under 6 years old.
- Don’t Panic. It is okay to be scared.
- Use the phone or bell to inform an adult.
- If the phone or bell doesn’t work, yell as loudly as you can to ask for help.
- Never try to push the doors open by yourself. It is not safe.
- Stay clear of the sensors and the door.
- Don’t climb anything.
- If you have a younger child with you ask them if they need help.
- What to tell when asking for help: Where are you. Who is with you. Are you okay?
- Be patient. Someone will get you out. The lift will not fall. Really, tell them that the lift will not fall by itself. They really think that it can!
- It is okay to sit down. One of the questions that came up after the incident was ‘is it safe to sit down if I am to wait for someone to come help me?’ Yes! It is okay to sit down while you wait.
I have created two printable sheets to help you talk to your child or if you are a teacher then talk to your class using these. You can print them on A4 size sheets and stick them near elevators so that other parents can teach their children too.
I hope you will find these printables useful. Do share them with other parents and friends. Sharing is caring! <3