This time of year, many families go on last-minute trips to visit water parks, theme parks, and amusement parks before school starts. In addition, families may visit traveling carnivals and county fairs. These are all great opportunities to enjoy thrilling rides and family fun. However, they can also be dangerous places where kids can be injured if they are not practicing safe behavior. The following are rules you and your children can follow to stay safe while you enjoy the rides.
- Drink lots of water to prevent heat stroke.
- Wear a hat or visor to keep the sun from your head and face while waiting in line.
- Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn and make sure to reapply it periodically.
- Wear comfortable shoes with clean, cotton socks instead of flip-flops or sandals. Hot asphalt is hard on your feet and shoes will help cushion them from the hard surface and will prevent blisters.
- Be aware of your surroundings, and watch out for other people. At a crowded park, it is easy to collide with another guest and get hurt.
- Watch kids carefully at the amusement park. With large crowds, it is easy for a child to get lost. Make sure you talk to your child about what to do if you are separated.
- Read the boarding restrictions before you get in line. Make sure your child is the proper physical height to ride the attraction, doesn’t have any of the posted health restrictions, and is mature enough to handle the ride.
- Watch the ride with your child and discuss it before you get on. Point out the ride loading and unloading location and the safety attendant. Read the ride warnings together and talk about how to use the safety equipment and where to hold on. Make sure the child knows to stay seated even if the ride stops or they get frightened.
- Follow boarding and seating instructions. For example, it may be safer for small children to ride on the inside of certain spinning rides to avoid being squished by other riders. On other rides, it is safer to seat small children away from the open side of a ride.
- Use the safety equipment provided on the ride—belts, lap bars, chains, and handrails. If the ride starts before you are secured, yell for help.
- Keep your bottom on the seat and your arms and legs inside the ride to avoid being injured.
- Wait for the ride to stop before unloading and exiting the area.
Theme parks are great fun for the whole family. However, rides and attractions are not without risk. In order to minimize the risks and maximize fun, make sure your whole family practices the safe behaviors outlined. When parents model safe behavior and follow the rules, the kids will do the same.
David Todd is an Austin child injury attorney with the Todd Law Firm who is passionate about promoting child safety. Even when practicing safe behavior, injuries can still happen. If your child is hurt and you need legal assistance, contact him at 512-472-7799 for a free case review. You can also download a free copy of Seven Deadly Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Texas Accident Case for more information.