Are Your Children Safe On Orange County Amusement Park Rides?
With schools closed for spring break, many children are visiting amusement parks in Orange County. Southern California is second only to New Jersey in the number of amusement parks and carnivals located in the area. However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the incidence of serious injury sustained at amusement parks has doubled over the last ten years, explains a local attorney. Not long ago, a 13-year-old boy died after suffering for almost ten years from the injuries he received in an accident at Disneyland.
In 2000, the boy, then 4 years old, was thrown from the Roger Rabbit ride and trapped under one of the cars for about 10 minutes. The Los Angeles Times reported that the “vehicle rolled over him, folding his 45-pound body in half.” He suffered serious injuries, including severe brain damage, from which he never fully recovered, spending the next nine years in and out of the hospital. He never spoke or walked again. In 2009, he died in his mother’s arms at a local hospital.
An investigation into the accident determined that negligence on the part of the Orange County amusement park’s employees was the cause: not only had they placed him in a position on the ride unsafe for a child his size, they failed to fully lower the lap bar over him, explains a local attorney. The CPSC estimates that annually 12,500 people are treated in emergency rooms for amusement park injuries. About 50 percent of all injuries and 75 percent of all falls and ejections involve children under the age of 13.
While most rides at amusement parks and fairs are safe, it is important for parents to monitor their children in these parks. While amusement parks seem like a safe and fun place to send your children, the experience they offer involves fast moving, heavy machinery. Closely supervise young children and discuss safety measures with older ones like:
• Keep your head facing forward at all times during fast or bumpy rides. Studies have shown that some neurological injuries can occur by turning your head at the wrong moment, such as when the ride is changing direction or accelerating.
• Obey height and weight minimums and maximums. They are there to protect riders.
• Point out safety features, such as seatbelts, lap bars, grab bars, and warning signs.
• Explain how the safety equipment works and its purpose. Parents should pay close attention to rides that use a single lap bar for multiple riders, as this presents a special hazard to young children. Single lap bars are designed to fit closely against only the largest passenger in the car, leaving smaller riders unprotected.