PETALING JAYA - The designs of shopping malls and other public places should include child safety features to prevent accidents such as what befell Nurul Emielda Nadia Sallehuddin.
Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia president P.H. Wong urged shopping malls to work together with child non-governmental organisations to have better child protection policies.
"The gap at the escalator should not have been there in the first place. A lot of public places are not designed with child safety in mind," she said.
She also recalled the 2011 case of a 10-year-old boy who was fatally electrocuted after accidentally touching an exposed wire on a lamp post at a playground in Shah Alam.
It was believed that Nurul Emielda had slipped out of the corner of the escalator where there was a small opening on Saturday.
Wong, who is also Childline Malaysia honorary steering committee member, said parents must also be accountable for their children.
"Many parents let their children walk behind them, expecting them to follow. Parents do not have eyes behind their head.
"They should at least hold onto their child's hand," she said.
Suka Society executive director Anderson Selvasegaram said it was more important for parents to be vigilant to avoid their children getting involved in accidents.
"Accidents can still happen even with safety features in place. A child can still slip down an escalator and get hurt if they are not supervised," he said.
Describing the incident as "unfortunate", Malaysia Shopping Malls Association adviser HC Chan said escalators were widely used in many countries and were meant to provide convenience.
"If used properly, it is safe. Children should be supervised so that they do not play on the escalators," he said.
He said a shopping mall's design, including safety aspects, must be approved by the authorities before it could be operational.