Summertime is here and children and adults alike flock to amusement parks, beach boardwalks, county fairs and festivals looking for the thrill of a roller coaster ride and a stomach full of funnel cake.
Although amusement rides are usually fun and safe, defective machinery and careless ride operators can cause serious injuries for visitors.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), an estimated 29,568 injuries were caused by amusement park attractions, including rides, in 2007. Injuries range from minor bruises to major bodily injury such as brain injury, paralysis and amputation. Children are most prone to these injuries and suffer over half of the injuries and about seventy-five percent of all falls and ejections from amusement rides.
In addition to numerous injuries, amusement rides can turn fatal. Each year, amusement rides cause an average of 4.5 fatalities.
Visitors cannot fully prevent amusement park injuries since defective machinery and careless ride operators can be unpredictable. However, riders should protect themselves by being aware of their surroundings, checking that all safety bars, belts and harnesses are properly secure, staying away from moving parts and rides, ensuring that children follow height and weight restrictions, and listening to all instructions and warnings.