It's that time of year again, thrill seekers of all ages are eagerly awaiting the chance to hop on their favorite rides and indulge themselves in a day full of fun and excitement with their friends and family. That's right, it's amusement park season! Who doesn't love to get their adrenaline pumping and childhood nostalgia flowing with a day at the park?
While amusement parks are a great opportunity to create lasting memories with your loved ones, they are still very high risk environments. In fact, according to the latest data from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there were 1,356 ride-related injuries in 2013. With that being said, if the proper precautions aren't taken, a fun day at the park can become a disaster in a matter of seconds. That's why we've come up with some tips to make sure an injury doesn't spoil you and your family's day at the park.
Don't ignore these signs, and don't try to "cheat" the system. The rules are there for a reason. Park visitors may have the tendency to look past these rules, but in reality they are essential to ensuring you have a safe ride. If the ride has an age, height, weight, or health restriction that you do not meet, don't risk it. If the ride gives set guidelines on safety measures to take while on the ride, then follow them. While this may all sound like common sense, not following posted rules is often the number one cause for amusement park accidents.
It's a bird! It's a plane! No it's a…flying cell phone? Think about this, a crowded amusement park has hundreds of riders propelling through the air at high rates of speed. You know what can also be flying through the air with these passengers? All of their personal belongings. Should a rider forget to either safely secure these items or remove them from themselves while riding, then these objects have the potential to come flying from the air and injure innocent bystanders. While this may seem very unlikely, it is important to note that most amusement park injuries do not occur while on an actual ride, rather they are more common while off the rides.
Children may be too easily distracted by their surroundings to pay close enough attention to any posted rules. That is why it is important for an adult to thoroughly explain the rules to the child before they board a ride. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides a great handout for child safety in an amusement park.
Amusement parks are large, crowded, and sometimes even chaotic places. It is remarkably easy for you or someone in your group to get lost among the masses. To avoid this, come up with a designated meeting spot for your group to meet at should anyone get lost. Not only is this a great way to make sure everyone sees as much of the park as they like, but everyone can stay safe in the process.
Uneven pavement and curbs are a sure recipe for injury at an amusement park. With such heavy traffic flow, amusement park pathways are not always up to par, thus it is up to you to make sure you are paying close attention to any potential sources of injury. While it may be easy to get carried away with excitement as you climb on one ride to the next, do not forget to watch where you are going in the process. As you enter or leave the park, make sure that you stay alert of those around you. Parking lots can always be dangerous, but even more so in the buzzing environment of an amusement park. Kids may be eagerly running through the lot, or parents may be distractively trying to find the coveted perfect parking spot. Either way, the parking lot can easily become an even bigger danger zone than the park itself, so make sure you take extra precaution while there.
Every time amusement park season rolls around, we all make the mistake of assuming that all the rides are going to be 100% safe and up to date. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes amusement parks fall short in making sure that their rides are being properly maintained. While rides are supposed to be routinely checked, monitored and rechecked for any possible defects, there are known cases of park owner's being negligent in doing so. In fact, The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards found that in 2012, 10% of all PA amusement parks had no inspection records on file with the state. With such loosely kept safety regulations, it's smart for all park goers to listen to their gut if they feel that a ride appears to be unsafe for boarding. Perhaps an even grayer area of ride safety can be seen with traveling carnival rides. Unlike fixed park attractions that stay in one place, carnival rides are often subjected to lots of moving and reassembling with very little regulation. Keep in mind that every time a ride is taken apart and put back together again, the risks of faulty assembly are increased.
Amusement parks have been, and always will be, an essential part to an exhilarating summertime. Don't let an injury that could have been avoided ruin you and your family's experience.
If you or a loved one is ever injured in an amusement park accident, we can help you get the answers and legal help you need.