British Columbia

2-year-old breaks leg after escalator accident at Vancouver airport

"You can be riding responsibly and all it takes is a touch — you can have your life changed for the worse, permanently."

'You can be riding responsibly and all it takes is a touch'

Julian Diaczok was treated in hospital after the accident and his mom says he's now recovering at home. (Andrea Diaczok)

A Calgary mom has a message for parents after her two-year-old son broke his leg when it was caught in an escalator in Vancouver on Friday.

Andrea Diaczok took her toddler, Julian, down the escalator at Vancouver International Airport. She held his hand as they rode side-by-side in the middle. 

"I heard a squeak, looked down and the sole of his boot was just disappearing down the side," she said Tuesday. "It just started to eat into the side of his boot."

Julian's boot, still wedged in the escalator at the airport on Friday. (Andrea Diaczok)

Diaczok started yelling for someone to push the emergency stop button, unable to reach it herself from the middle of the escalator.

An airport staffer reached the button before Diaczok and her son got to the bottom. Someone called 911, Diaczok's husband ran over and she started to cut the toddler loose.

"His leg was so twisted and trapped, and they didn't know what was going on with his foot at that point, so I just started to say, 'We need to find some scissors,' " Diaczok said.

"I started to see a bit of blood and I just started telling for someone to make sure there was tourniquet in the medical kit because I wasn't sure what was going on at that time inside his boot," the mom said through tears.

"He was screaming. I think I was screaming too."

Julian Diaczok, 2, was treated for his injuries after his foot was stuck in an escalator at Vancouver International Aiport last week. (Andrea Diaczok)

'All it takes is a touch'

Julian ended up with a broken leg as well as some swelling and bruising.Diaczok said he also wakes up with nightmares if his feet aren't covered by blankets, talking about what he calls "the big twist."

The family said that twist was too close a call.

"You can be riding responsibly and all it takes is a touch — you can have your life changed for the worse ..., " she said.

"I think most people know to be aware of the top and the bottom, and to watch small bits like shoelaces and not to touch the sides ... but I don't know if people are aware that side entrapment can happen."

Julian's rubber-soled rainboot after it was pulled from the escalator. (Andrea Diaczok)

Diaczok is also calling for better safety measures from manufacturers, saying a sensor should have detected something was caught in the stairs and triggered an automatic stop.

Safety tips from Technical Safety BC say children who are old enough to walk can stand on the escalator and don't need to be carried. It said parental supervision is essential.

It also warns that "some types of soft-soled shoes can get caught in escalator stairs."

Airport investigating

An airport spokesperson said the authority has launched an investigation into what happened.

"We recognize this is a traumatic incident for the child and family involved," YVR said in a statement.

"Our investigation into this incident is ongoing and we are reviewing maintenance and inspection records for the escalator," it continued. "We will certainly implement any enhancements necessary pending the outcome of our investigation."

The authority said a maintenance crew inspected the escalator before it returned to service.

Diaczok, who is pregnant with her second child, said she wants people to be aware of how fast it happened. 

"Move an inch the wrong way or lose your balance and stumble, it seems like an awful high price to pay for making an honest mistake," she said. "Too high."