Research shows amusement park rides hurt thousands of kids yearly

July 18, 2013

Topic: orthopaedic injury

Research shows amusement park rides hurt thousands of kids yearly

With summer on the horizon, it's almost amusement park season. New findings show that these arenas are the source of significant orthopaedic injury in children. By following specific tips, kids can safely have fun at these parks. 

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the likelihood of suffering a serious injury on an amusement park ride is one in 24 million. The source also claims that 61 of the 1,425 injuries resulting from these rides leads to overnight hospital treatment. This may seem like a small risk, but recent research published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics suggests greater danger associated with the rides. 

New research notes amusement park risk 
The study claims that more than 4,000 children in the U.S. are injured on amusement park rides yearly. Due to these injuries, between 1990 and 2010, close to 93,000 children were admitted to emergency rooms for treatment. 

The study notes that the head and neck led with 28 percent of the injuries. Other highly effected areas included the arms, face and legs. Strains, sprains and orthopaedic fractures were also among the physical setbacks. 

Results also show that, between May and September, 70 percent of pediatric amusement park injuries occurred. During these warm summer months, there were more than 20 injuries a day. Additionally during this time, a mishap requiring a hospital visit happened once every three days. 

Aside from amusement parks, the study also focused on mobile rides at fairs, malls, restaurants and arcades.  

Findings suggest need of injury prevention for kids 
According to Gary Smith, M.D., senior study author, the lack of a standard national system to regulate amusement parks may play a role in the high injury incidences. 

"Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction over mobile rides, regulation of fixed-site rides is currently left to state or local governments, leading to a fragmented system," said Smith in a release. "A coordinated national system would help us prevent amusement-ride-related injuries through better injury surveillance and more consistent enforcement of standards." 

Without this standard system, Smith and his fellow researchers suggest that amusement park visitors follow a few basic tips. Kids should adhere to all age, weight and height restrictions for rides. Safety belt and bar use is imperative. Additionally, visitors must always keep their hands and feet in the ride. Parents should also take care that their children can follow these rules on their own. By doing so, the rates of amusement park injury may lessen. 

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