Amusement parks attract children and adults from all over the world. As home to some of the most prominent amusement parks in the world, Florida understands better than most states the benefits and the drawbacks of amusement parks. A new study showing the prevalence of personal injuries suffered by children on amusement park rides has once again raised questions about appropriate safety regulations. With summer break fast approaching, the peak season for amusement park injuries is about to begin. Safety experts will once again be on the lookout for the lapses that lead to serious injury.
The study reviewed injuries to children at amusement parks between 1990 and 2010. During that period, almost 93,000 injuries requiring emergency room visits were suffered by kids at amusement parks. That works out to approximately 4,500 injuries every year. The majority of those injuries happen from May to September, when many children are not in school. In many cases, the injuries reported did not require hospital stays. Such serious amusement park injuries happened roughly once every three days.
Regulation in the arena of amusement park rides varies. Traveling fairs and other mobile rides are overseen by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fixed site rides like those in malls and year-round amusement parks are overseen by state or local government agencies. The varying regulation makes it difficult to maintain predictable and acceptable safety levels for all rides and attractions.
The study pointed out that rides located in malls, stores, restaurants and arcades are more likely to result in injuries suffered by children who fall off, in, on or against the ride. These rides may lack proper safety restraints and may be placed on hard surfaces. The authors encourage parents to be mindful of the safety of any ride before allowing children to use it.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “More Than 4,000 U.S. Kids Hurt Each Year on Amusement Rides,” 1 May 2013