Crocs – A Special Danger

My son loves his Crocs! If he had his way he would live in them; even in the snow. But Crocs have a special danger, and the company has been sued multiple times for defective design causing injuries to kids. Watch this news report:

What do you teach your kids to do on an escalator? -Hold onto the hand rail, right? Well young kids arms are short, so holding onto the handrail places them closer to the edge of the escalator, where the rubberized side of their Crocs can ‘grab’ the side of the escalator, and the shoe gets sucked into the escalator…

Of course Crocs doesn’t agree that their shoes are a ‘causal factor’ in causing these incidents, then again I’ve never known a manufacturer in a products liability case to agree that their product is dangerous – they always deny. But Crocs admits that they are aware of 186 accidents with their shoes and they are beginning an investigation.

The Japanese government has actually requested that Crocs make their shoes safer for the public. Take a look at what a Japanese safety team found with Crocs on an escalator:

But the problem is not limited to just escalators, which is why some schools have banned Crocs, look at what happens to this little girl on the playground slide (Happy ending):

Here’s another one. Watch the video and pause it at 5 seconds. You can clearly see that the shoe has ‘grabbed’ the slide and stopped the little boy’s sliding, but his body’s momentum has carried him over the shoe, then his leg forces his body out and over the slide edge. What caused the accident was the ability of the Croc to ‘grab’ the slide. A normal pair of tennis shoes wouldn’t have done that. (Happy ending):

The plain fact is that Crocs have their place. Around the water, beach, pool, boat, or the gym shower, Crocs are a great design, they are a rubberized waterproof shoe that gives you good traction in a wet slippery environment. In a wet environment they are probably better than flip flops. But take a Croc out of the environment it was designed for, and put it in the real world, and that same high traction design, will contribute, and even in some cases, cause, injuries that otherwise wouldn’t happen…

So here’s the rule in our family. My son’s crocs live in his pool bag. He wears them at the pool and in the pool shower. But they are not allowed out in the ‘real’ world of escalators, playgrounds, and school. In the real world he needs to have a real shoe. Simple as that…

Response by the Crocs Company:
Because of these injuries, and the resulting pressure from parents, the media, and even the Japanese government, in 2008, Crocs responded by launching an “Escalator Safety Awareness Initiative”. This “initiative” consists of putting ‘hang tags’ on new Crocs that:
“reminds consumers to use care when riding escalators and moving walkways, while providing these specific tips:”.
• Stand facing forward in the center of the step
• Step on and off carefully
• Do not touch sides below handrail
• Avoid the sides of the steps where shoe entrapment can occur
• Supervise children at all times

Of course ‘hang tags’ are promptly removed by consumers… And notably Crocs has not redesigned the shoe. Nor have they embedded a permanent safety message in the shoe itself. Something along the lines of “Warning: Beware of foot entrapment dangers when riding escalators, stand in the center of the escalator step, don’t touch the shoe to the side panel of a moving escalator, as serious injury may result.”. The sum total of Crocs response to these injuries appears to be to put ‘hang tags’ on the shoe, post one page on their website, and, of course, to settle the lawsuits…

My personal opinion is that their response is inadequate given that kids are getting mangled wearing their shoes, but I suppose you could just call me a jaded lawyer dad… (Crocs’ “Elevator Safety Initiative Website”).

The Lawsuits

Because of this problem with Crocs and escalators, the company that owns Crocs, has been sued multiple times. The settlements have been with non-disclosure requirements, so we don’t know how much they are for, but interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be enough to get Crocs to decide to change the design, or embed a safety warning…

(Knoxville News Report).
(ABA Journal on Crocs suit).

I hope this helps you keep your kids safe,

Stay Safe, Get Smart, Take Care,

Sean….

seanthelawyer.com, Legal Information That Will Change & Save Your Life…

Other Croc safety videos: Crocs Youtube Safety Videos List).

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