From lazy river raft rides to gravity-defying roller coasters, amusement parks offer vacationers thrills of all sorts. Unfortunately, these rides are not always as safe as one might assume—even when parkgoers follow all the rules. According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency departments treated more than 42,000 injuries related to amusement park attractions in 2018 alone. Of those injured, 7,318 were children between the ages of 0 and 4.
It is obviously essential that visitors follow all posted rules and warning signs before getting on a ride—even a slow-moving one. However, in some cases, negligence on the part of park operators may lead to passenger injury. In addition to watching out for important safety information, park visitors should always be on the alert for potential safety hazards.
Skip rides whose operators seem inattentive or unqualified
Whether due to carelessness, distraction or lack of training, even a momentary mistake on the part of a ride operator may lead to serious injury. Before getting on a ride, parkgoers should make sure that the attendants are paying attention to their duties and following safety protocols diligently.
Avoid rides that seem poorly maintained
People often assume that, if a ride is working, the maintenance staff have done their due diligence in ensuring its safe operation. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. If anything about a ride’s mechanical safety seems hazardous, it is best to avoid getting on and report concerns to the attendants or to customer service.
Pay special attention to restraints on children’s rides
Rides designed for small children do not always have proper restraints and sometimes do not have restraints at all. Even if a child meets the ride’s minimum height limit, parents should make sure that that seating includes close-fitting, child-appropriate harnesses or belts, especially if the child will be riding alone.