Shoe Manufacturer Sued By Tot's Dad

By: Gerri L. Elder

The maker of the colorful and trendy Crocs shoes has been sued for $7 million by the father of a 3-year-old girl who wore a pair of the shoes. Emma Hochberg was injured on November 14, 2007 when the pink Croc shoe in her right foot got stuck in an airport escalator at LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Rocky Mountain News reports that Jeffrey Hochberg has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Crocs company of Niwot, Colorado, claiming that his daughter Emma was "severely and permanently injured" as a result of her shoe becoming stuck in the escalator. The child's big toe was reportedly mangled in the accident.

Crocs manufactures popular clog-like shoes for adults and children that have holes in them for the foot to breathe. They are made of a soft rubbery material that molds to the foot for comfort. The children's shoes come in designs with popular characters on them.

The problem with Crocs and escalators seems to be that the shoes have a tendency to become wedged in the moving stairs or on the side of the escalator, causing children's feet to become trapped and injured.

Emma's injury is far from the first reported incident in which a child wearing Crocs shoes has been hurt on an escalator. There have been so many escalator injuries involving Crocs shoes that many parents feel that the shoes should no longer be made in children's' sizes and many shopping centers with escalators have begun to post warning signs about the dangerous combination of Crocs and the moving staircases.

In Singapore, a girl had her big toe ripped off by an escalator while wearing a pair of Crocs shoes. At the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, a 3-year-old girl reportedly had to have two of her toes partially amputated after one of her Crocs shoes became stuck in the teeth of an escalator in April 2007. Also in Atlanta last year, a 10-year-old child who was wearing Crocs shoes sustained a minor injury to her toe when her shoe became wedged in the side of the escalator. In Virginia, a 4-year-old boy who was wearing a pair of Crocs shoes had a toenail ripped off by an escalator in September 2007. Two children in Arkansas also sustained serious injuries on escalators while wearing Crocs.

Although all of the injuries described involve escalators, children and Crocs shoes, the maker of the shoes still claims that they are safe. The company believes that the injuries are caused by escalators, and not by a design flaw of the children's' shoes. There is danger of escalator injuries with any soft, open shoe; however, in the future, Crocs will come with a label to advise consumers about escalator safety.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 10,000 people are treated in emergency rooms across the country each year due to injuries sustained on escalators. Of these injuries, 20 percent involve a person's hands, feet or shoes becoming caught in the escalator.

Over 6 million pairs of Crocs shoes were sold last year.

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