In Brief

September 20, 2007

ACCIDENTS

Shoes may cause escalator injuries

At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.

The Washington Metro subway system has even posted ads warning riders about wearing such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, though they don't mention Crocs by name.

According to reports appearing across the United States and as far away as Singapore and Japan, entrapments occur because of two of the selling points of shoes like Crocs: their flexibility and grip. Some report the shoes get caught in the "teeth" at the bottom or top of the escalator, or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator.

The reports of serious injuries have all involved young children. Crocs are commonly worn by children as young as 2.

Niwot, Colo.-based Crocs Inc. said it is aware of "very few" problems relating to accidents involving the shoes.

Associated Press

NUTRITION

Two cereal companies to start using logos with nutritional information

Next month, General Mills Inc. and Kellogg Co. will begin emblazoning their breakfast cereals with symbols that summarize complex nutritional information - part of the growing use of logos to steer harried grocery shoppers toward healthier choices.

Government regulators in Britain, Sweden and elsewhere have established logo systems that concisely indicate how nutritious food products are. In the United States, however, corporations have been left to devise their own. That's led to a patchwork of systems that some fear further confuses consumers already unsure about how to eat wisely.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration took a first step toward clearing matters up, inviting food companies, trade groups and medical experts, among others, to share how front-label symbols can improve public health. The FDA stressed that the meeting was a preliminary step as it considered whether to establish a national symbol system. Any action is probably years away - and even then, the system would probably be voluntary.

Los Angeles Times

PHYSICIANS

Britain to ban ties, jewelry for doctors in effort to stop spread of germs

British hospitals are banning neckties, long sleeves and jewelry for doctors - and their traditional white coats - in an effort to stop the spread of deadly hospital-borne infections, according to new rules published this week.

Hospital dress codes typically urge doctors to look professional, which, for male practitioners, has usually meant wearing a tie. "Ties are rarely laundered but worn daily," the Department of Health said in a statement announcing the rules that take effect next year. "They perform no beneficial function in patient care and have been shown to be colonized by pathogens." Fake nails, jewelry and watches, which the department warned could harbor germs, are also out.

Officials said the "bare below the elbows" dress code would help prevent the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the deadly bacteria resistant to nearly every available antibiotic.

Associated Press

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