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Elevator warning! Read if you have a small child!

2008-04-04 - 10:19 a.m.

The scariest thing happened last night. Grommet and I were at the local library and about to exit the elevator when she reached out and curiously put her hand on the door that was sliding open. Since she was right beside the side it was retracting into, I didnít have time to react and watched dumbly as her hand slid right into the slot between the door and the wall of the elevator and wedged there, the door still partly open.

I grabbed the door and desperately tried to pull it back out of the wall, but it wouldn't budge and there was no button to press to close the door again. At this point Grommet was shrieking and I was screaming for help, so the librarian ran over and declared that we had to get Grommetís hand free and yanked it out (which Iíd been trying to avoid since I was afraid that her hand was so wedged that it would damage it to force it out). It turned out that the exact same thing had happened to the librarianís 2 year-old daughter, in the exact same elevator, a few months ago, so the librarian knew there was no way to get that door to re-close.

Grommet wasn't badly hurt, thank God: no scrapes or bruises, but her hand was a bit red and puffy. The scare (both of being trapped and the commotion of me and the librarian yelling) definitely caused the lionís share of the tears. They gave us an ice pack and since the library's in a recreation complex, a couple of first-aid-trained lifeguards came over from the pool to check her hand, but by then sheíd calmed down and had started to use her hand to hold a book (chortling with glee over her new treasure as she turned the pages).

The library took our names and number and will file an incident report, but when this happened to the librarianís daughter the library had the elevator inspected and were told it was "up to code". I guess code doesn't require that there be a safety mechanism on the retraction of the opening door, only the closing of the door so it doesn't shut on someone.

Though I doubt Grommetíll be touching an elevator door again any time soon (if I can even get her to go on an elevator), from now on I'm going to try to make sure I'm standing where the door retracts into the wall and Grommet safely on the other side of me.

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