Boy, 4, lucky to be alive after he is crushed between two escalators

Posted on 1:25 PM by Sameer Shah

A four-year-old boy had his young age to thank after surviving a horrifying accident that saw him crushed between two escalators.

Doctors said that had Stevie Webb been older, his neck would have been snapped when he was bent double in the foot-wide gap between two ramp-style travelators.

The incident occurred when Stevie's mother turned her back and he sneaked between the two walkways, which were moving in opposite directions, in the Savacentre in Colliers Wood, south-west London.

In seconds his clothes were caught and Stevie was whipped round backwards so hard his head was level with his ankles.

His horrified mother hit the machine's emergency stop button before dragging him free with the help of a friend.

The force of the impact and twisting motion left Stevie with discoloured eyes and face because blood vessels burst under the skin.

Doctors told Stevie's parents that had their son been any older, and his bones more set, the force of the accident would have snapped his neck.

It is expected to take at least a month for Stevie's complexion to return to normal.

An investigation has now been launched at the Savacentre.

Stevie's father Darren Webb, 39, from Mitcham, Surrey, said his son's injuries were so severe he resembled the blue-purple alien characters from the film 'Avatar'.

He said: 'It's left him looking like an extra out of that new Avatar film. He doesn't have any white left in his eyes and it could be months until the colour in his face goes back to normal.

'The doctors said he'd been incredibly lucky because his neck and body were so contorted. It's only because he's so young and supple that his neck didn't break.'

Mr Webb was in the centre's car park waiting to pick up his family when the accident happened. He immediately rushed unconscious Stevie to St George's Hospital, Tooting, less than a mile away.

But Mr Webb said he was planning on taking legal action against the centre after its manager refused to take responsibility for the accident, claiming the boy's mother was not watching him at the time.

Mr Webb, who has spoken to centre manager Eric Sante and watched CCTV footage of the accident, said: 'I'll put my hands up and agree my child was playing while his mum's back was turned - but four-year-olds do that sort of thing.

'There was no kind of protection or barrier to stop this from happening but the shopping centre manager still wants to make out that this is our fault.

'It's unbelievable - my son nearly died.'

Mr Sante said: 'Mr Webb came in on Monday screaming and demanding to see CCTV footage which we let him do.

'I sat him down and apologised but told him I was in no position to accept responsibility for what happened.'

He added the CCTV footage showed Stevie playing next to the travelator while his mother was on the phone.

The incident has already been referred to the shopping centre's legal team.

MB Trust, which manages the area where the walkways operate, said it was officially checked twice a year and the most recent check was in November.

Juliet Bray, marketing director of MB Real Estate, an arm of MB Trust, said: 'It's a horrible incident and I can't imagine how upsetting it must have been for the parents and the little boy.

'I'm confident that we've done what is needed to make it safe. I'm very moved and I know that all of my colleagues are too and they will take every step necessary to make sure this doesn't happen again.'

The travelator is situated near to the shopping centre's Sainsbury's store.

A Sainsbury's spokesman said: 'We would like to express our sympathies to the Webb family for this incident. We have been in contact with MB Real Estate who confirmed that they are taking every possible step to prevent something like this happening again.

'As soon as our colleagues at the store were made aware of the accident they began to give first aid and also called an ambulance.'

2 Response to "Boy, 4, lucky to be alive after he is crushed between two escalators"

renae Says....

i think that this should have never have happened. i think that travelaters/esculaters should be outlawed! so many children as well as adults are seriously injured on these things every year! my opinion is either get stairs put in or buy an elevater!this poor,poor child should not have to suffer this way!

Aspergers and loving it Says....

I am a custodian and security guard at a shopping mall
with escalators and travelators.
I would like to ask renae, how would stairs make a mall safer? The question I ask in these situations is where is the Parent? Many Parents are under the impression that a mall is a safe place for young kids. would removing an escalator make it safer? Definitely not. If these machines are used properly they are safe. Would you let a three year old play with a skill saw? No you would not. Then why is it ok to let a three year old play around an escalator? Let little ones run ahead of you , go to the toilets by themselves while Parents are enjoying a coffee in the coffee shop, little children standing in supermarket trollies. These in my experience are every day events. You can't unstupid a mall , The stupid ones will just take there stupidity somewhere else. Dads are the worst , sitting there young children on the moving hand rail on the escalator which teaching the child he or she can ride it when they are older. Rather than remove escalators ,lets try with the Parents properly supervising their children.Almost all accidents with children in malls is either from the lack of supervision(Child being right there with them or the Parent allowing the child to do things which they shouldn't. A mall is not a play ground and is definitely not safe to be treated as one.