Children are always playful, too excited and, sometimes, uneasy, especially when they are in amusement parks. This is probably the reason why an estimated 4,400 children get hurt in amusement parks every year. With regard to adults, however, it can be any other reason besides excitement, like an existing health condition or carelessness. In many other instances, however, amusement park accidents happen due to poorly designed rides, operator negligence, mechanical failure or improper behavior by other park attendees.
In 2010, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) recorded 290 million amusement park tickets sold in the US. The following year, IAAPA received reports of 1,204 people getting injured in 400 different amusement parks.
Deaths and injuries in amusement parks are not common, occurring only to 1 out of every 9 million visitors, according to the IAAPA. Some deaths, however, can just be too gruesome, like people drowning or getting electrocuted in water slides; people getting thrown off from their seats while on a roller coaster; and, older adults or teenagers sustaining bone fractures in the leg or arm either while on rides or while getting off these rides. Some other forms of injuries (non-fatal ones), include a man accidentally swallowing too much water during a water theme park ride or some individuals suffering from dizziness or chest pains after a ride.
As required by law, operators of fixed-site amusement parks should report to state and local government regulatory authorities all incidences of accidents, ride-related defects and manufacturer-related safety issues. State and local governments actually bear the full burden when it comes to ensuring the safety of amusement park rides; part of their responsibility includes the establishment of safety audit and safety inspection programs.
Another government agency that has tasks related to safety in amusement parks is the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The task of this federal agency, however, is limited to recording and compiling all accidents involving mobile rides and devices, like those in carnivals and local fairs.
As clearly stated in IAAPA’s website, “Safety is the Amusement Park Industry’s Number 1 Priority” . To ensure this, standards have been set on the design, manufacture, quality assurance, testing, operation, inspection, and maintenance of rides. All rides, and how an amusement park actually operates, are also subject to rigorous inspections by state and local governments and insurance companies. Park employees and specialty companies are, likewise, required to periodically re-inspect rides, using as their guide for safety check, the guidelines provided by the rides’ manufacturers.
With all the safety checks and the standards on rides, it should already be safe to say that amusement parks are accident-free fun places. Obviously, however, this is not the case. The law firm Williams Kherkher mentions on its website, for instance, that amusement park visitors may face risks of injury, especially if a park operator fails to follow proper safety procedures.
There is no telling what type of injury one may be at risk sustaining in an amusement park. Various government records show of minor to severe injuries and even accidental deaths. Regardless of the severity of an injury, victims should find out if their case is worth pursuing legally.