Six-year-old injured in Dapto Mall travelator mishap

Six-year-old Kiahn Foley with his mother Sarah and brother Kayden. Kiahn was sucked into a mall travelator, injuring his buttocks. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Six-year-old Kiahn Foley with his mother Sarah and brother Kayden. Kiahn was sucked into a mall travelator, injuring his buttocks. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

A six-year-old boy suffered bruises, cuts and acute embarrassment when his pants were sucked into a shopping centre travelator at Dapto Mall.

Kiahn Foley screamed as the metal teeth of the machine repeatedly dug into his buttocks about 10am on Wednesday, while his horrified mother Sarah looked on.

Ms Foley had Kiahn's 10-month-old brother in her arms and estimates she struggled for more than five minutes to try to free her eldest boy.

"I was freaking out - I didn't know what was going to happen. Still now I keep having panic attacks, I keep hearing him scream," Ms Foley told the Mercury on Friday.

Ms Foley took to social media in the aftermath of the accident to track down and thank a passer-by, since identified, who helped her rip Kiahn free.

The Bulli mum said she hoped to spread word of the incident in the hope it would serve as a cautionary tale.

Travelator danger. Child's bottom caught.

Travelator danger. Child's bottom caught.

"I want people to know what can happen, and I think maybe the teeth at the bottom [of the travelator] should be covered by something."

The boy's pants and underpants remained lodged in the travelator, leaving him naked from the waist down, "traumatised and very embarrassed".

Ms Foley has agreed to meet mall representatives next week to discuss the accident.

She said she was dissatisfied with the response from centre management and a mall security officer who offered her a coffee voucher and "told me to calm down", an offer she declined.

"I was a little bit hysterical," she said.

"After he took our names he walked off down a corridor, leaving us with no pants on. I think maybe it could have been handled differently."

Ms Foley said Kiahn had accidentally slipped on the walkway before he became stuck, and that she put her hand down to him to pull him up, telling him, "quick", but he was too slow.

However shopping centre manager Steven Calverley said he had viewed video of the incident and believed the boy deliberately "sat" on the escalator in the moments before he was injured.

"We understand [Kiahn] suffered a small laceration to his hand and backside," Mr Calverley said.

"Our centre team responded immediately and applied first aid.

"At Dapto Mall, the comfort and safety of our customers and retailers is our priority and we will continue to monitor and review safety arrangements."

Mr Calverley said a stop button was located on the travelator, and was functional.

Photographs of Kiahn's injuries, supplied to the Mercury, show multiple blood blisters and bruising.

Ms Foley said the boy was quiet after he was freed, and had taken Thursday off school.

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