Japan Asks Crocs for Redesign
Saturday, April 19, 2008
TOKYO, April 18 -- Japan has asked the maker of Crocs to look into changing the design of its footwear after complaints that children wearing the colorful plastic clogs have had their feet injured on escalators.
The Trade Ministry said Friday it issued the warning after receiving 65 complaints about Crocs and similar products getting stuck in escalators between June and November last year. Most of the cases involved young children.
Similar complaints have come from other countries, including the United States. Crocs is headquartered in Niwot, Colo., about 30 miles north of Denver.
There are reports of children having had toe nails, and even toes, torn off while wearing Crocs-style shoes on escalators.
In Singapore, a 2-year-old girl wearing rubber clogs -- it's unclear what brand -- had her big toe ripped off in an escalator accident in November 2006, according to local news reports. And at the Atlanta airport last year, a 3-year-old boy wearing Crocs suffered a deep gash across the top of his toes.
The Washington Metro said last year it had noticed an increase in the number of shoes getting stuck in escalators. No serious injuries have been reported. The passenger rail system has posted ads warning about soft-soled shoes on its moving stairways.
Crocs pointed out that the Japanese government also asked the escalator industry to improve awareness of safety issues.
"The ministry found that there were a number of factors that led to a specific incident in Japan last summer," said Crocs spokeswoman Tia Mattson. "Those included escalator maintenance, footwear and user riding behavior, which they determined was the primary cause of the accident. We continue to be supportive of escalator safety initiatives and we will consider any recommendations the ministry has for footwear manufacturers."
The Japanese unit of Crocs has published a statement on its official Web site warning customers to use caution when riding escalators.
About 3.9 million pairs of Crocs footwear were sold in Japan last year, the ministry said.