As the temperature warms and shorts and flip flops make a reappearance in your child’s wardrobe, summer pastimes also come to mind, such as visiting local amusement parks. These entertainment complexes provide endless hours of fun and adrenaline-pumping thrills for children and adults of all ages.
A recent study performed by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Ohio State University College of Medicine, and the Child Injury Prevention Alliance demonstrated that amusement parks are not quite as safe as originally thought to be.
According to the study, approximately 92,885 children under the age of 17 were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States from 1990 to 2010. This implies an annual average of 4,423 injuries, approximately 6.24 per 100,000 children. Of these injured children, the mean age was 8.73 years.
The majority of the injuries were to the head and neck area (28.0%) and were mostly deemed soft tissue injuries (29.4%). Injuries to the arms (24%), face (18%), and legs (17%) were also significantly reported. Although the number of injuries is astounding, only a small percentage required hospitalization (1.5%). Falls in, on, off, or against the amusement park ride were listed as the most common method of injury within this sample (31.7%).
In terms of the location, amusement park rides at local restaurants, stores, arcades, and local malls were also included in the sample, along with those found at fairs, carnivals, and fixed-site amusement park rides. In comparison, 33 percent of the reported injuries occurred on a fixed-site ride at a permanent amusement park, while mobile and mall/arcade rides saw lower percentages of injuries (29% and 12%, respectively.)
“Injuries from smaller amusement rides located in malls, stores, restaurants and arcades are typically given less attention by legal and public health professionals than injuries from larger amusement park rides, yet our study showed that in the U.S. a child is treated in an emergency department, on average, every day for an injury from an amusement ride located in a mall, store, restaurant or arcade,” said contributing author Dr. Gary A. Smith MD, of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. In addition to his research and practice, Dr. Smith is a professor in pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.
The study, published in the May issue of Clinical Pediatrics, also noted that the bulk of injuries, more than 70 percent, happened during the warm, summer months when families are more active and kids are out of school, specifically between May and September. Shockingly, the research showed that during this timeframe, emergency room doctors report more than 20 injuries a day.
These startling results led researchers to suggest increased safety reviews, protocols, and safety mechanisms on these rides to prevent injury. “We need to raise awareness of this issue and determine the best way to prevent injuries from these types of rides,” said Dr. Smith.
For a parent, this information can be very unsettling, even more so for one who has already seen their child hurt on, in, or near an amusement park ride. If your child suffered injury on one of these rides, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical, financial, and emotional hardship. To discuss your case with an experienced, yet compassionate attorney, contact amusement park injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino today.