As most Tennessee parents can attest to: Kids love rides. Whether it is going to the local amusement park, or even just going on a small ride at a mall or shopping center, children of all ages love the thrill of going on a ride. Sadly though, while rides are supposed to be an enjoyable pastime, every year there are thousands of children who are hurt and require hospitalization due to an injury from a ride.
Recently, a first of its kind study was conducted looking at the rate of children's injuries from rides. The types of rides were broken into three categories: fixed-sites rides, mobile rides and mall rides. Fixed-site rides are those found at amusement parks. Mobile rides tend to be those at fairs and festivals and mall rides are those at shopping centers, restaurants, stores and arcades.
According to the study, from 1990 to 2010 there were 92,885 children who went to an emergency department from injuries related to rides. This breaks down to roughly 4,500 injuries per year related to rides. The majority of these were over the summer months.
The types of injuries ranged, with head and neck injuries being the most common. Of the injuries, a rather low percentage required hospitalization. However, when it comes to injuries requiring hospitalization, these were most common among the summer months. In fact, the study found that every three days between May and September a child in the U.S. is hospitalized due to a ride-related injury.
As a parent, hearing of these statistics may leave some wondering what to do. Is it better to say no to all rides? How can parents best protect their children from these types of injuries?
The No. 1 thing a parent can do is follow all height, weight and age restrictions. This means that even if a child really wants to go on a ride, if the child is not big enough or old enough, the answer should be no.
Aside from this though, parents also need to know their child. If there is reason to believe the child is not going to follow the rules of the ride, it is best not to risk it. Additionally, if a parent feels a ride may be unsafe, it is best to follow those gut feelings.
Lastly, parents need to also make sure and follow any loading instructions. This means putting on any safety belts and bars and encouraging keeping hands and feet securely inside the ride at all times.