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How to keep your kids safe at the mall this holiday season

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year -- but it can be a parent's worst nightmare when they have to bring small children with them to the mall and struggle through the crowds with a toddler or two in tow.

While individual stores and mall management are legally responsible for providing a safe environment for shoppers, there are things that you want to do to help keep your little ones safe:

  • Invest in a stroller to keep your little one in place. If you don't have one, most malls have rentals. Just be careful not to overload the back with packages and cause a tip-over.
  • Be wary of display tables. A lot of them are not as secure as you might think or may be made of disconnected pieces that could fall apart if a child leans on them.
  • Skip the escalator altogether. Escalator accidents are responsible for around 2,000 injuries -- including amputations -- every year. The majority of victims are children under 5 who get off balance due to the movement and fall.
  • Be careful of gaps between the elevator floor and the store floor -- a small child can easily catch a toe in the gap and fall face-forward onto the ground.
  • Watch out for the food court. A spilled drink, some dropped ice or something like ketchup smeared on the floor can cause you or your child to fall -- and it's easy to get hurt on those hard food court floors.
  • Make sure that you pin your cellphone number to your child's pocket if he or she isn't old enough to remember it -- just in case you get separated.
  • If you are separated, immediately let the nearest store personnel know -- stores often have a system to locate lost little ones and no one will blame you for being panicked.

Unfortunately, while most malls are well-kept, some are showing their age and starting to lose their luster. In those cases, mall management may have cut back on housekeeping or basic repairs.

Worn carpets, malfunctioning escalators and spills that aren't promptly cleaned up in common areas are all signs that the premises aren't as well-maintained as they should be. They also increase the chances that you or your child could get hurt in a slip-and-fall injury. If that happens, an attorney can help you learn more about your right to recover compensation for your injuries.

Source: Parents, "Mall Safety: 5 Strategies to Keep Kids Safe," Donna Christiano, accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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