Summertime is just about here, which means that people of all ages will soon be planning trips to amusement parks and water parks. While some prefer the tranquility of a miniature train ride or a relaxing soaking pool, others seek the adrenaline rush that comes from the simulated danger on roller coasters and other thrill rides. Unfortunately, not all of the dangers are simulated, and thousands of people are injured at amusement parks every year.
No Federal Oversight
Forty years ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission was responsible for the regulation of mobile carnivals—such as county fairs—and fixed-site amusement parks. During the 1980’s, however, federal lawmakers decided that state and local governments should regulate the fixed-site parks in their respective jurisdiction. Federal regulators still oversee mobile carnivals, but there is no national standard for permanent parks.
The lack of federal oversight means that laws regarding the inspection of rides and other attractions can vary widely by state. In some cases, the parks themselves are even tasked with investigating injuries and fatalities rather than giving that responsibility to a regulatory body.
According to the International Association for Amusement Parks, more than 330 million adult and children visit American amusement parks each year. The association says that the likelihood of suffering an injury serious enough to necessitate an overnight hospital stay is one in 16 million, but it is possible to suffer serious injuries that do not require a hospital stay.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2016, more than 30,000 people sought emergency medical treatment for injuries associated with amusement park rides and attractions. That number is not expected to have changed very much in 2017. There have also been 22 deaths linked with amusement parks since 2010, not including water park or water slide fatalities.
Important Safety Tips
If you are planning a trip to an amusement park this summer, there are few things you can do to keep yourself and your children safe. First and foremost, be sure to follow all of the rules and regulations set by the park and ride manufacturers, especially size requirements for specific rides. It may be fun to try to sneak your child on a ride, but size requirements are determined as a safety measure.
You must also stay out of fenced-off areas or parts of the park designated for employees only. Many such areas are intended for ride maintenance, which means you could be putting yourself in harm’s way by being where you are not supposed to be.
Finally, you should always cooperate with ride operators when they are checking latches, lap belts, and other safety features. While it may seem that the staff members are just conducting cursory checks, they are actually ensuring that the safety features are in place to prevent injuries.
We Can Help
In the event that your trip is cut short by an unfortunate injury, contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney. Call 860-290-8690 for a free consultation to discuss your options for collecting compensation. Let us help you protect your rights.