Spring break in Florida is a time for fun, and many families spend part of this time having a good time at one of the many amusement parks spread across our beautiful state. Generally speaking, amusement parks are a great way to have lots of adventurous fun, and for the most part they’re quite safe.
Nevertheless, there isn’t one amusement park that is entirely free from safety risks. According to the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), there’s a one in 750 million chance of getting killed in an amusement park.
This might look like a very small chance, but tell that to parents who have had children injured or killed at an amusement park. Simply put, you can’t be too careful when it comes to the safety of your kids. Bad things can and do happen, and you need to be aware and ready.
So, what should parents do to minimize risks?
Speak Up When Something Isn’t Right
Many of the vacation injuries that occur in amusement parks could have been prevented. Why? Because they involve a park employee who didn’t do his or her job right, which resulted in an accident.
You should never remain silent if you feel that an employee of an amusement park is endangering visitors. Look out for unsafe behavior, such as ride operators who appear drunk or on drugs, distracted, aren’t paying attention, or who are on their phones.
Similarly, talk to your kids about speaking up when they see something that doesn’t seem right. For example, tell them that they should say something if they feel that their ride strap hasn’t been appropriately fastened.
Follow the Rules
Breaking the rules in an amusement park can easily lead to a broken femur – or worse – due to things like slips and falls. Another big reason for accidents?
Disregarding basic protocols such as children being allowed onto rides for which they don’t meet the age or height requirements, children piling too many of their friends on a ride and overloading it, and so on.
Tell your children that once they get to the park, they must read and follow park signs and directions to the letter. Never horse around or take unauthorized short cuts.
As a parent, you should also be a role model for proper safety conduct in the park. Remember that your kids – especially young ones – will emulate your behavior. If you follow amusement park safety rules, your children will be more likely to do the same.
Keep a Watchful Eye Over Your Children
It’s pretty much Rule 101 of parenting that kids tend to engage in riskier behaviors when their parents aren’t around to keep them in check. This is no different at amusement parks, where unsupervised children are more prone to hijinks that can lead to injury.
In short: you have to make sure that your kids are supervised. If you have multiple children wanting to go in separate directions, do your best to send an adult with each group. At the very least, make sure that each group is led by a more responsible older child, and make plans for frequent meet-ups to ensure everyone is still doing well. This doesn’t make up for parental supervision, but often it’s better than nothing.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.