As summer approaches and the school year comes to a close, you’re likely to have a vacation or two planned. If you choose to visit an amusement park, waterpark or go-kart track, however, there are some things you should know about the attraction and its commitment to safety. After all, you work hard to protect the ones you love. A momentary lapse in judgment or lack of safety training is all it takes for an employee at one of these attractions to injure you or your family in an amusement park accident.
Amusement Park Accident Statistics:
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) released the Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey, discovering that:
- Approximately 297 million guests visit 400 U.S. amusement parks annually.
- The risk of injury on a ride at a fixed-site park in the U.S. is 1 in 24 million. Safety is the first priority of parks and attractions nationwide.
- Of the 1,415 reported ride-related injuries, 61 or less than 5 percent, resulted in overnight treatment at a hospital. This statistic reflects every type of injury including scrapes and bruises.
Possible Common Injuries:
NOLO.com cites the following injuries as the most common suffered at amusement parks, waterparks, and go-kart tracks:
- Head, neck, and back injuries. Being whipped around or spun suddenly can cause injuries.
- Death from falling or being thrown from a ride. Improperly fastened safety harnesses and belts are often a culprit.
- Stroke. Trauma to ligaments in the neck can cause this condition.
- Traumatic brain injury. This is caused by G-forces and stresses on the brain by rapid speeds or detached objects striking and hitting a rider’s head.
- Brain aneurysms from roller coasters. Other fast rides can cause blood vessels in the brain to burst and cause trauma.
- Lacerations, broken bones, and torn ligaments. Being jostled around on a ride can cause cuts, bruises, and sprains.
- Drowning. This can occur on water slides, “lazy river” rides or other types of water rides.
According to SaferParks.org, “There are no mandatory national safety standards for U.S. amusement rides, but the amusement ride industry has developed an extensive suite of consensus safety standards through the ASTM F-24 committee. State and local rules, where they exist, may reference ASTM industry standards, government-drafted requirements, or a combination of both. ”The ASTM F-24 committee is responsible for standards involving amusement rides and devices such as waterslides, inflatables, go-karts, zip lines, challenge courses, trampoline courts, and a number of other commercially owned and operated amusement experiences.
How to Prevent an Amusement Park Accident:
Before you finalize your plans, research the attractions you plan to visit. Ask questions such as, what types of safety features do they offer? Have they experienced any type of accident in the past year? If so, what have they done to prevent an amusement park accident from occurring? A little research can give you an accurate picture of which attractions take safety seriously and which ones do not.
Once you have a good idea of what level of safety you and your family will experience at an amusement park, waterpark or go-kart track, by all means, do whatever you need to do to finish getting ready for your trip. Therefore, if you witness an attraction engaging in risky behavior, report it right away. It could be your family on one of the rides, slides or in one of the cars. Keep that in mind and do your part to put safety first.
About the Author:
Joe Macaluso is a personal injury lawyer practicing at the Bronx law firm of Macaluso & Fafinski, P.C. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Mr. Macaluso has been in private practice since 1990 with an exclusive focus on personal injury and medical malpractice. A member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, he has served on the Legislative Committee of this organization and is also a member of the Bronx County Bar Association and has served on the Board of Directors of Bronx Legal Services.