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How Safe is that Ride? The Truth About Amusement Park Injuries

shutterstock_115620205-550Pennsylvania is known for the Liberty Bell, Hershey chocolate, Philly cheesecakes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  But, did you know that Pennsylvania also has more amusement park rides than any other state?

Big amusement parks like Hershey Pak and Kennywood attract tourists with rides that are designed to thrill and scare. But, while big roller coasters like the Sidewinder and Skyrush look dangerous, a 2013 study found that these rides are relatively safe. It is the smaller rides – bumper cars, mini trains, carousels, and kiddy coasters – that are most likely to cause injury.

The study was conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  The researchers searched accident reports filed with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission between 1990 and 2010. During this time, more than 93,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ride-related injuries.

The researchers found that carousels were the most dangerous rides accounting more than 20 percent of injuries. Roller coasters accounted for 10 percent of injuries and bumper cars for four percent. Nearly one-third of amusement park injuries involved falls. Other causes of injuries included mechanical failure, missing safety equipment and operator error.

Most amusement park ride injury victims are children. Half are under age five. You can help protect yourself and your child from amusement ride injuries with these safety tips from Ostroff Law.

Five Ways to Prevent Pennsylvania Amusement Park Injuries

  1. Follow the rules. Many rides have age, weight or height restrictions. Children that are too small or too large may not be safe on the ride.
  2. Listen to directions. We know it is hard for children to listen when they are excited. Make sure your child follows the ride operator’s instructions when getting on and off the ride. Remind your child to keep hands and feet inside the ride. If your child isn’t able to follow the rules, don’t let him get on the ride.
  3. Buckle up. Always use the provided seat belts or safety bars. Don’t allow your child to get on a ride that has missing or damaged safety features.
  4. Look for padded seats. A child is more likely to sustain injuries on a ride with hard, unpadded seats.
  5. Trust your instincts. If a ride looks unsafe, skip it.

If Your Child Sustains Amusement Park Injuries

Following safety rules is important, but theme parks and carnivals also have a duty to visitors. Parks must ensure that all rides are in safe operating condition with all necessary safety equipment. Ride operators must be able to recognize potential hazards and take steps to prevent accidents.

Regulations for amusement parks and carnivals are complex; it can be difficult to determine if the amusement park is responsible for your child’s injury. If your child sustained injuries on a Pennsylvania amusement park ride, it is a good idea to discuss the injury with a personal injury attorney. The attorney will be able to tell you if the park is liable for the injury and how you can get compensation for your child’s medical bills and pain and suffering. To learn more, please contact Ostroff Injury Law at 800-818-8148.

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