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Are theme park rides safe?

Each year 297 million people visit the more than 400 U.S. theme parks. Together, they take 1.7 billion rides. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) claims that only 1,415 injuries occur making the odds of injury less than one in 24 million. They also say that most of these injuries are minor, with few resulting in emergency room visits.

But these statistics don’t agree with federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) records. According to the CPSC, about 8,800 people a year are injured on amusement park rides, 3,600 people are injured on inflatable amusement park attractions (inflatable slides and moon bounces), and 3,100 are hurt on water slides. The CPSC only counts injuries that resulted in emergency room visits.

Amusement Park Injuries

  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Head, neck, and back injuries caused by bumper car ride crashes
  • Head, neck, and back injuries caused by spinning rides and roller coasters
  • Head injuries caused when detached objects hit a rider’s head
  • Drowning and near-drowning on water slides and other water rides
  • Brain aneurysms from fast rides
  • Traumatic brain injury caused by the g-forces of fast rides
  • Stroke caused by trauma to ligaments in the neck
  • Death from falling or being thrown from a ride

 

The CPSC also tracks the causes of amusement park ride injuries and fatalities.

Causes of Amusement Park Injuries

  • Mechanical failure
  • Improper operation of the ride
  • A passenger’s failure to follow instructions
  • The inherent nature of the ride

 

The federal government regulates mobile amusement park rides. These are the rides that travel from one location to another. Fixed-site rides, like those at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, are regulated by the states. Only 28 states actually inspect and regulate roller coaster rides. The rest rely on insurance companies and private contractors to perform safety inspections.

Because of the lack of regulations, it can be difficult to determine whether an amusement park is responsible for an injury. Anyone who is injured on an amusement park ride should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney will be able to determine if the park is liable for the injury.

If you would like to discuss your own amusement park injury case, please call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham