Amusement Parks are staples of summertime fun. And, even as the summer is drawing to a close, the fall brings with it a cacophony of church carnivals and county fairs.
Who can resist the draw of biting deeply into a corndog while strolling down the midway, or the clarion call of a ride on the Ferris Wheel?
Kids and parents alike love amusement parks and fairs, and they are great places to spend a day making memories that can last a lifetime. But did you know that, unfortunately, according to a recent survey by the University of Michigan, more than 30,000 emergency room visits a year are linked to amusement parks and carnivals?
Here are a few tips that the University released to keep your kids safe after taking a closer look at those incidents and injuries.
- Speak up if park employees are exhibiting unsafe behaviors.
- Only let your child ride if the child meets height and age requirements.
- Have an action plan ready if kids become separated.
- Revisit “stranger danger” tips before a park visit.
- Stay hydrated and eat something substantial.
- Don’t wear baggy clothing.
While “fixed rides” at permanent parks and mobile rides at roving carnivals are well regulated — as the saying goes — “accidents do happen.” No mom (or dad) should rely on the state or county inspection process to keep their children safe at a permanent amusement park, or annual county fair or church carnival.
Here are some more safety tips, as compiled by Parents Magazine.
Follow Park Rules – read all warning signs, and heed them especially those regarding height and health requirements.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Kids – Knowing where your children are in a park is a basic but essential safety practice. Just as vital is to have a plan for what to do if you get separated.
Take Breaks Between High-Speed Rides – High-speed rides take a toll on young bodies (and older bodies, for that matter!), with the extreme gravitational forces they exert, the significant vibrations that ricochet through the body, and the sudden, jerky movements that can strain necks and other joints. Pediatricians recommend that kids take at least a 15 – 20-minute break before jumping from one “thrill ride” to another.
Strap, Belt, Bar, or Latch Carefully – On most rides, an attendant will walk down the line and make sure everyone is properly positioned and latched in before the ride begins. But don’t count on his or her diligence! Double-check your safety gear yourself, and be sure you maintain your seated position until the ride comes to a final stop.
Know the Signs of Injury – Your kid could have received head, neck, or limb trauma on a ride and not even know it. You should bring your kids to a first aid station immediately if they start to show a sudden onset of a severe headache or significant nausea or vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, or numbness and tingling. These are the biggest warning signs that something might be wrong.
Follow these tips, and it will be less likely that your trip to the fair, ends up with a trip to the ER!