Are you visiting an amusement park this year? Each year about 335 million people enjoy 1.6 billion rides at 400 U.S. amusement parks. While amusement rides can provide a thrill for people of all ages, accidents can occur. According to the National Safety Council, the chance of being seriously injured on a fixed-site ride at a U.S. amusement park is 1 in 16 million. While this may seem like a pretty slim chance, if you or your child are the one who’s injured, you’ll probably still think that’s pretty high. Therefore, it’s important that you know how to keep yourself and your family safe.
Below are some amusement ride safety tips you and your children should follow before boarding your next ride:
- Read all the posted rules thoroughly. Explain the rules to your children before you let them ride. Emphasize the importance of following these rules.
- Follow all verbal instructions given by the ride attendants.
- Obey all height, weight and age restrictions. Never sneak a child onto an amusement ride if they’re too small or too young, because they may not be able to stay safely seated during the ride.
- Never put your child on a ride that they may become frightened on while riding. Explain to your child that if they become scared while the ride is moving, they should NOT get out of their seat. Tell them to remain seated until the ride comes a complete stop.
- Never put your children on amusement rides that they have outgrown. The maximum height and weight limits are just as important as the minimum limits.
- Show your children where the ride operator is located as well as the entrance and exit points for each ride.
- Keep all body parts (hands, arms, legs, feet, long hair, etc.) inside the amusement ride at all times. If your child is unable to stay seated with their body parts inside the ride, don’t let them ride. If you or they have long hair, put it up with a hair band or wear a hat.
- Seat children to the inside of the ride, away from open doorways.
- Never have your older kids supervise younger kids while on an amusement ride. The older child may not give the younger child their full attention.
- Always use the safety equipment provided (seat belt, shoulder harness, lap bar, chain, etc.). If you think the safety device isn’t properly secured, alert the nearest ride operator. Realize that many safety equipment features on children’s rides aren’t designed to keep them seated.
- Realize that solid metal lap bars will only fit closely next to the largest person on the ride. A lap bar secured firmly next to a larger person may allow room for a small child to slide around or slip completely underneath the bar while the ride is moving. If your child isn’t securely restrained, don’t allow them to ride for their own safety.
- Hold onto handrails when they’re provided. They’re there for your safety. Tell your children to hold on to handrails tightly with two hands.
- Remain in the amusement ride until it comes to a full and complete stop at the unloading point before disembarking. If the ride stops temporarily, due to a mechanical failure or another reason, stay seated and wait for the ride to start up again or for an operator to give you further instructions.
- Don’t board a ride if you see broken parts, signs of improper maintenance, or an inattentive operator. Also don’t board a ride if it sounds like a machine is in need of repair.
- Know your physical conditions and limitations and those of your children. Do not board or ride an amusement ride if it may aggravate a pre-existing condition.
- Don’t ride a ride if you’re excessively tired in order to avoid injuries or illnesses.
- Never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Pay attention to all walking surfaces. You don’t want a broken foot or ankle to ruin your day.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes when visiting an amusement park. Wear shoes that will stay firmly on your feet during rides that twist, turn or flip upside down. Not only will flip-flops or sandals possibly fall off your feet on some amusement rides, they provide little to no arch support for your feet when walking. If you suffer from any foot conditions, like corns, bunions or plantar fasciitis, that can make your day at the amusement park less than fun, you may want to consider wearing custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, in your shoes. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics are ultra thin and ¾ in length, so they easily fit into any footwear. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics are customized to each of your feet, providing you with the exact bio-mechanical support your feet need while helping to alleviate foot pain.
- Drink plenty of water while visiting an amusement park, especially on a hot day.
- Take frequent rest breaks.
- If your child will be going to amusement park with a group of kids, talk to them about safety issues. Talk about the consequences of foolish behavior like sticking your hands and feet outside of the ride, or unhooking your safety belt/harness while the ride is in motion.
By following these amusement ride safety tips, you can help ensure that your day at the park remains fun and safe.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.