Amusement Park SafetyBy Child Safety Specialist Jul 5, 2010 | 10:30:00 amPosted in: Affordable Security, Family, Home Security Tips
I just returned from my summer trip to Hershey Park with my family. What a great amusement park! We also had the chance to check out Dutch Wonderland in nearby Lancaster, PA. This amusement park is specifically geared to the under 12 set which is nice when you’re only traveling with small children.
I have to admit, I’ve never been a real thrill seeker and most of those crazy roller coaster rides scare me to death! While I understand how gravity works, it still amazes me how smaller people don’t come flying right out of the ride. Fortunately according to statistics, amusement parks are extremely safe.
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, in 2008, nearly 300 million guests visited U.S. amusement facilities and safely enjoyed 1.7 billion rides. There were only an estimated 1,343 ride-related injuries during this time and, of these, only 80 required some form of overnight treatment at a hospital.
But, even one injury is too many. I had the opportunity to interview the director of ride operations from Hershey Park on my radio show last week and learn a bit more about ride safety. As she explained, the manufacturer of the ride establishes all of the safety procedures including height requirements, safety harnesses, etc. But, each park is under strict supervision by a governing body which differs from state to state. Rides are thoroughly inspected on a daily basis by the park and, over the winter at Hershey Park, the rides are completely overhauled to check for any safety issues.
It’s important for parents to adhere to the established height and weight restrictions and not try to sneak a child onto a ride where he or she does not meet the requirements. Also, never try to talk children into going on a ride that they do not want to or that makes them uncomfortable.
During my interview, I learned that people with disabilities are also considered. Signs demonstrating how to properly brace for a ride and any health restrictions are posted so that caregivers can determine if the person is capable of managing the ride. Some parks, including Hershey Park, have programs to allow children with special needs to get priority status in line so they can avoid long waits.
In water parks there are additional safety concerns. Young children and people who cannot swim should wear life vests and water shoes should be worn to prevent slipping on wet surfaces. Many amusement parks such as Hershey Park have advanced storm centers that will track severe weather and provide early warnings to clear the rides. However, if at any time you hear thunder you should immediately get underneath a covered area.
Amusement parks can be loud and chaotic and children can easily get lost. Upon arriving, visit guest services and ask them what their procedures are for locating lost children.
Visiting an amusement park can be exhausting and exciting at the same time. Above all, make sure it’s safe.
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