With this past weekend’s tragedy still in our mind, many will wonder what the likelihood of being hurt, injured or harmed at an amusement park is. And, if you are injured, what type of injuries are most common?
Obviously, given what happened in Texas on Friday, death can occur when visiting an amusement park, but that is one of the least likely things to happen on any ride in any park. Theme park owners and operators take great pains to ensure the rides they operate are safe and secure for their patrons. If you’ve ever been unfortunate to be stuck in a line when an announcement comes on with the words, “temporarily ceasing operations,” you know they’re doing maintenance and you’re either stuck for awhile, or need to push through to go ride something else.
That said, there are injuries that do occur. The most common injury is that to the soft tissue of the rider. This typically occurs when the ride’s harness is not secured properly, or if the rider is thrown in an unexpected direction and part of the ride or carriage strikes the rider in an unprotected area.
Neck and spinal injuries are also more common occurrences. This is why you will see many ride instructions recommending you keep your head against the headrest throughout the ride’s operation. It is also why many newer rides have harnesses that surround the sides of the head in one way or another.
We now come upon the question of which rides are you more likely to be injured while riding. Roller Coasters, surprisingly are not the biggest culprit. According to a 2011 study by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, most injuries occur on Family and Adult Rides. Children’s Rides are the safest, according to the same study.
Finally, the likelihood of being injured while attending an amusement park is actually on the decline, while annual attendance numbers continue to increase. Over the last 10 years Injuries per million attendees has dropped from 7 down to 4.3, and we hope for a continued drop in these rates.
No one wants a fun day at the theme parks to turn into the tragedy we witnessed this weekend, and with proper care it won’t happen to you or your family. If an accident does happen, and you feel it could have been prevented by proper maintenance or attention by the theme park’s owners and operators, please contact us and let us review your case.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando Theme Park Injury Attorneys