Amusement Park Rides Injure Thousands of Children Every Year: Study

Thousands of children in the U.S. are injured every year on amusement park rides, sometimes fatally. With the summer season kicking into high gear, there are a number of things that parents, caretakers and amusement parks could do to prevent injuries and deaths. 

According to data by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), about 45,000 amusement park injuries occurred last year, with about 30,000 involving children under the age of 18.

The most recent statistics available indicate that about 20 children are injured every day from amusement park rides between May and September, during the peak attendance months of amusement parks and fairs.

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In a study released in 2013, researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital indicated that the most common amusement park ride injuries involve the head and neck, with 28% of injuries occurring in those areas. Nearly a third of all injuries involved falling in, on, off, or against a ride. On average the children who were injured were eight years old and nearly two percent of injuries resulted in hospitalization.

Theme parks in North America attract 375 million visitors every year, according to the International Association for Amusement Parks and Attractions. But children are not just injured on roller coasters and big attractions. Many are injured on smaller rides, like those found in malls.

Experts indicate that parents and caregivers need to be aware that the amusement park ride injury risk is not limited to bigger rides, but also on mall rides. Many mall rides are located over hard floors so when children fall, they fall on hard surfaces and sustain head injuries.

Children should be supervised on all rides, according to safety experts who are calling for more regulations in the industry and a coordinated national system to prevent amusement ride-related injuries through surveillance and enforcement.

Several recommendations have been offered by leading experts to keep children safe during trips to the amusement park, or any time they get on a ride:

  • Always follow posted height, age, weight, and health restrictions.
  • Always follow special seating order or loading instructions.
  • Always use safety belts and safety bars.
  • Ensure children keep their hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
  • Avoid mall rides because of the heightened risk of head injury.
  • Trust your instincts, if you are worried about safety choose a different activity.


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