License to thrill: Staying safe on amusement rides
The sun is shining, school is almost out, and the lure of outdoor amusement parks may be calling. But whether your kids enjoy a gentle spin on a traditional carousel, or a scream-inducing drop on a roller coaster, what you may not realize is that amusement parks can be a source of injuries, if you don't follow the necessary precautions.
"While Technical Safety BC provides safety oversight for the amusement devices industry in British Columbia, safety is a shared responsibility," says Amusement Devices Safety Officer David Looney. "The installer, the operator, and the riding public all have a role to play when it comes to safety. The best way to stay safe is to pay attention to safety signage and always use the rides properly.”
Here are some safety tips to review with your kids:
Pay attention to restrictions: Many rides have age, height, or weight restrictions. While it can be upsetting to a child to hear they can't go on a certain ride because they are too small or too large, it’s important to follow the rules – they are there for your safety.
- Follow the instructions: Most rides have instructions posted and operators will also give certain instructions to follow as you load, as you ride, and as you exit. Remain in the appropriate position and hold on to the safety bar, handholds, or lap bars as instructed for the duration of the ride. Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times. Never try to open or unfasten the ride-restraining device during the ride. When you are entering or exiting the ride area, walk don’t run – many injuries related to amusement devices are related to trips and falls.
- Keep loose items secure: Do not bring any loose articles such as purses, bags, cell phones, cameras, backpacks, or jackets with you on the ride. Not only do you risk losing them, but they could strike a fellow rider or bystander. Leave them on the ground with a trusted friend or family member. And if you are riding on swings or other similar devices think twice before wearing flip flops, or other shoes that might fall off.
- Consider medical conditions: Some rides can aggravate a pre-existing medical condition. If you suffer from motion sickness, seizures, dizziness, have a heart condition, high blood pressure, a neck or back disorder, or if you are pregnant always make sure you read the rider restrictions posted on the ride or ask the operator if you are not sure if the ride will aggravate any medical condition.
- Safety before selfie: Taking selfies can be tempting but not only do you risk dropping your phone, having your hands outside the ride to take pictures can be dangerous. Put your phone away and enjoy the ride.
Even when following all of these rules, accidents can happen. If you or your child do experience an incident, seek medical care and . Want to learn more about the number of incidents and injuries at amusement parks? Check out our State of Safety - Amusement Devices section which includes those stats.