Warning Signs of a Faulty Amusement Park Ride and Other Dangers to Look Out For
You go out with your family, thinking it’s going to be a fun day. The amusement park attractions are exciting, the rides are thrilling, and you’re having the time of your life. It’s a great day — that is until it isn’t.
An amusement park can become a scary place in a snap, and if something goes wrong, your dream day just might become a nightmare.
Faulty amusement park rides are more common than you might think. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) stated that there were 1,299 amusement park accidents in the country in 2019 alone. This number is non-negligible, especially given that visitors could have protected themselves from most of these amusement park accidents.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and others at an amusement park? We will discuss the potential dangers and warning signs in these parks and what you should do if you are in an amusement park accident.
Amusement Park Injuries
Whether in an amusement park, theme park, or water park, you must be aware of the significant risks involved. Safety protocols are implemented to ensure visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience. Still, there is always a chance that you could get injured.
The most common injuries in amusement parks are:
Slips, Trips, Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are the most common injuries in these parks. People slip on wet surfaces, trip over uneven ground or obstacles, and fall from heights. These accidents can happen anywhere in the park, whether on the ground, on an amusement park ride, in a pool, or on water slides. Depending on the circumstances, an incident like this can result in no injuries, a minor injury requiring medical care, or even a terrible tragedy.
Broken bones and torn ligaments are other common types of amusement park injuries. They can occur from a fall, being hit by an object, or being thrown from a rough ride. The most common broken bones in amusement parks are fractures to the wrists, ankles, and collarbones.
A concussion is a brain injury that can occur from a blow to the head. The symptoms of a concussion can range from mild to severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. Concussions are often caused by falls, being hit by an object, or being thrown mid-ride.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Head Injuries
Traumatic brain and head injuries can occur from a blow to the head or being thrown from a ride. Sometimes, getting whipped and jerked around from a forceful ride could be enough for you to sustain these injuries. They can be severe and even life-threatening. The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury or head injury can include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, blurred vision, and more. If left untreated, they can even lead to death.
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Fast and aggressive amusement rides can cause whiplash and neck injuries, even spine and back injuries. These can occur from sudden stops, turns, and jerks while riding amusement park attractions like roller coasters. Some symptoms of whiplash or a neck injury include neck pain, stiffness, headache, and dizziness.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Most amusement park accidents are preventable. You can do your part as a visitor to ensure that a significant accident does not injure you or your loved ones. Here are some tips to follow:
- Abide by the amusement park safety regulations at all times.
- Fully cooperate and follow instructions for every ride and attraction.
- Listen carefully to each ride’s operator, as they will instruct you on the safety measures you must take. Each ride will generally have different safety protocols than any other ride in the park.
- Wear the safety gear provided throughout the ride.
- Stay still. Do not stand up, lean, or move around while the amusement ride is in motion. Keep your head, hands, arms, and legs inside the ride at all times.
- Make sure that your lap bars are secured and that you are in a locked position before the amusement ride takes off. While safety inspections are encouraged, do not tamper with the safety restraint or equipment.
- Wear secure clothing and footwear. Loose clothing, accessories, or shoelaces can get caught on things and cause you to trip, fall, or get pulled from a ride.
Park Risks: Top Things to Look Out For
Aside from the risks specific to each type of amusement park ride, there are also general risks present in every park. It is essential to be aware of these dangers to avoid them. Here are some of the top things to look out for:
Amusement Park Rides or Theme Parks
Size of Crowds
An amusement park can be crowded even during its off-peak season; during peak season, such as spring break, the chances of an accident can be seriously increased.
These parks are always bustling, so it’s important not to trip over something or someone. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings, so you don’t get hit by an object or a person.
There is always a risk of injury when you get on any ride, but some amusement park rides are known to be more dangerous than others.
Fast and tall amusement park rides, such as roller coasters or freefall rides, can provide a high-speed thrill and adrenaline rush; however, they can also cause a terrible tragedy. These amusement park rides have been known to cause severe injuries and even death.
Before you get on any amusement park ride, ensure that you understand the underlying risks, particularly if you have an underlying medical condition. Think twice about getting on dangerous rides; there is always a chance that something can go wrong, no matter how careful you are.
Negligent Ride Operators
The safety of every visitor also relies on the operator of the ride, and they are responsible for ensuring that the ride is functioning correctly and that everyone follows the safety guidelines to avoid a major accident.
Unfortunately, there have been reported cases of negligent ride operators. There have been times when the ride operator was not paying attention, not following protocol, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The improper operation has caused severe accidents and injuries.
It is essential to be aware of the ride operator and ensure they follow all the safety guidelines. They should clearly explain how to fasten each safety restraint securely. If you see anything suspicious, report it to a park employee or management immediately.
Lack of Parental Supervision for Small Children
Another common hazard in these parks is the lack of parental supervision for small children. Small children can easily get lost in a large and crowded amusement park, and they can also wander off and get on a ride that they are not tall enough to go on or that they are not supposed to go on without an adult.
Parents need to keep a close eye on their children at all times. If you cannot do so, it is best to find someone you trust to watch them for you. Please do not leave them unsupervised even for a minute, as an accident can happen in the shortest amount of time.
Absence of Regulatory Compliance
To operate, all amusement parks and theme parks must comply with state and federal regulations. These regulatory agencies are responsible for ensuring that rides are safe and up to code and conducting regular inspections of the rides.
However, there have been cases where the amusement park has not complied with these regulations. They may have been using defective equipment, or they may not have been conducting the proper maintenance on the rides. These actions can lead to mechanical failures, causing severe accidents and injuries.
It is crucial to ensure that the amusement park you are visiting complies with all state and federal regulations. You can usually find this information on the website or by calling the park.
The weather can also be a hazard at amusement parks. Severe weather, such as thunderstorms and high winds, can cause the rides to malfunction or even collapse. In addition, slippery surfaces can lead to slip and fall accidents.
It is essential to check the weather forecast before you visit an amusement park. If severe weather is expected, it is best to reschedule your visit.
Materials of the Ride
The materials that the rides are made out of can also contribute to accidents. Inferior materials, such as substandard metals, plastics, and wood, can break easily and cause accidents.
Moreover, some materials, such as metal, can rust and break down over time, and this can cause mechanical failure. In addition, sharp edges on the rides can cause cuts and lacerations.
It is crucial to ensure that the rides are made of sturdy, high-quality materials and properly maintained. The park should be regularly inspecting every amusement ride and repairing any damage.
One of the most common hazards in amusement parks is faulty mechanics, including loose bolts, broken parts, and improper assembly.
It is vital to ensure that the park ride you are getting on is in good working condition. Sparks or creaking sounds are usual signs of defective rides. If the mechanics of their roller coasters seem off, do not get on the rides and report them to consumer services immediately.
Most of these parks have safety signs and instructions posted near the rides; reading these carefully before getting on the ride is essential.
The safety procedures will tell you what to do in an emergency, and they will also tell you what the age, height, and weight restrictions are for the ride. In addition, the safety signs will tell you what to do if you have a medical condition that the ride could aggravate.
Some amusement parks require you to sign a waiver of your right to sue before you can ride certain rides. The disclaimer is a legal document that releases the park from liability in case of an accident, even when the park operator acts carelessly and is at fault for causing your injury.
It is essential to read the waiver thoroughly before you sign it, and you must ensure that you understand what it says and that you are comfortable with the terms. In addition, you should keep the waiver in a safe place in case you need it later. New Jersey courts have been enforcing these waivers so if you have any doubt as to safety– don’t sign a waiver or you will be losing your right to sue.
If you have any questions about the waiver, you should ask a park employee before you sign it. You should also ask how much extra you can pay NOT to sign it, as some operator will allow that.
Double-Check Safety Belts
Before you get on a ride, you should double-check the safety restraints, such as belts and harnesses, to ensure that they are secure. In addition, you should make sure that the ride has an emergency stop button or lever you can reach.
Do not get on the ride if the safety belts and harnesses are not secure. You should also report any loose safety restraints to a park employee.
If you are visiting a water park, it is crucial to inspect the inflatable water slides and attractions before you use them. Look for any rips, holes, or tears in the fabric. In addition, make sure that the inflation valves are secure and that there are no leaks.
If you see any damage to the inflatables or any water ride, do not use them. Report it to a park employee immediately.
Another hazard to look out for in water parks is slippery floors. Wet floors can be very slippery and cause you to fall and hurt yourself.
To avoid slipping, you should wear proper footwear like water shoes. In addition, you should walk carefully and take your time. Hold on to handrails or walls if you need to.
If the floor is very slippery, you should report it to a park employee and avoid the area.
Water parks are full of people, which means there is a risk of broken glass and sharp objects. Most people in water parks are barefoot, increasing the risk of cuts and puncture wounds.
To avoid getting cut, you should inspect the area around you before you sit or lie down. Look for any broken glass or sharp objects. In addition, you should wear proper footwear at all times to protect your feet.
If you see any broken glass or sharp objects, you should report it to a park employee and avoid the area.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Now that you know what dangers to look out for when you’re in an amusement park, you must know your rights. In case of an amusement park accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
New Jersey law requires an injured person to notify the amusement park owners within 90 days of the incident or risk losing their right to pursue a personal injury case.
If you’ve been injured in an amusement park or water park, contact Rossetti, DeVoto, Medori & Baxter, PC. Our seasoned injury lawyers have handled many personal injury cases nationwide, from amusement park accidents.
Our professional attorneys will make sure to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.