Once summer rolls around, you probably start thinking about a family vacation. With the kids out of school and free to take a break from studying, maybe you’re considering a trip to one of California’s amusement parks? Each year, millions of people from around the world flock to California just to visit places like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain or the Bay Area’s Great America. While these parks are great fun for young and old alike, they’re also common places to suffer a personal injury. In fact, a new study released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that amusement park ride-related injuries rose by almost 87 percent during the last five years.
As visitors demand bigger, faster and more thrilling rides, park dangers are increasing throughout the country. In addition, the number of park visitors continue to break attendance records year after year and, as a result, the already existing rides and park properties are often not properly maintained. In a study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, researchers decided to examine amusement park ride injuries sustained by children. What they found was rather frightening.
Details of the Study
From 1990 to 2010, 92,885 children under the age of 18 were treated in emergency rooms across the country for amusement park ride injuries. That averages out to 4,423 amusement park ride injuries every year. Not surprisingly, the study found over 70 percent of these injuries were suffered during the summer, specifically between May and September. When narrowing those injuries down to summertime months, researchers found that children suffered over 20 accidents a day during this time.
The study also looked at the most common location and type of injury sustained on amusement park rides. The results showed that children most often suffered injuries in the following locations:
- Head and neck injuries – 28 percent
- Arm injuries – 24 percent
- Face injuries – 18 percent
- Leg injuries – 17 percent
The type of injuries varied among children, but soft tissue damage was the most common, followed by strains/sprains, cuts and broken bones. During the summer months, there is one amusement park ride-related injury serious enough to require hospital admission every three days on average.
Children were most likely to sustain amusement park ride injuries resulting from a fall. Hitting a body part on a ride or being hit by something while on the ride also caused a number of injuries among children. Around 33 percent of all children’s injuries were suffered while on a fixed-seat ride. Nearly one-third (33 percent) of injuries occurred on a fixed-site ride.
What Causes Amusement Park Ride Injuries?
There are many different things that can contribute to an amusement park injury. According to the study, the most dangerous rides are carousels, roller coasters and bumper cars. Most common park accidents are caused by:
- Children who fail to follow the specific ride safety rules
- A child’s known or unknown health problems
- Negligence on the part of amusement park employees, ride operators, maintenance staff or the park itself
- A “generic accident” that is not the direct result of anyone else’s actions, such as a slip and fall injury
Tips to Keep Children Safe on Amusement Park Rides
Don’t let all of these grim statistics keep you or your children from enjoying a fun day at the amusement park. Here are some fundamental tips you can follow to keep children safe on amusement park rides:
- Take note of and follow all posted age, height, weight and medical restrictions for each ride
- Always use the ride’s safety equipment, such as safety belts or bars, then double-check them to ensure they are secure and fit snugly.
- Make sure children keep hands and feet inside the seating area of the ride at all times.
- Consider your child’s behavior…if he or she will likely break the ride’s safety rules, do not allow them to ride.
- Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t look right or if you are concerned about the overall safety of the ride, take your child and choose another type of ride or activity.
What are Your Legal Rights after an Amusement Park Ride Injury?
Amusement park accidents can cause serious personal injury, leading to massive medical bills, an inability to work or even death. After suffering an amusement park injury, whether on a thrill ride or walking the grounds, it’s best to consult with a trusted San Francisco personal injury attorney. Under California law, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries.
If you or your child have been injured at an amusement park, contact the experienced amusement park attorneys at Nelson C. Barry today. Your initial consultation is always free.