Home to some of the most well-known theme parks in the world, Florida is
a popular vacation destination for families who take advantage of the
state’s warm weather and many attractions. However, according to the
Orlando Sentinel, during the third quarter of 2014, a dozen people reported serious health
problems or injuries on Disney World rides and two more incidents were
reported at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld.
These statistics are all the more troubling because under Florida law,
these theme parks are exempt from state oversight and many important safety
regulations as long as they report injuries that occur on a ride that
results in hospital stays of more than 24 hours. Nevertheless, these reports
often do not include a full picture of the dangers and consequences that
result from ride injuries.
Theme Parks: An Under-Regulated Industry
According to the latest statistics from the
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), in 2011, around 300 million people visited the nearly 400 amusement parks
in the United States and took more than 1.7 billion rides. Further, the
association noted that the chance of being seriously injured at a park
was about one in 24 million.
While industry officials claim that the risks of being hurt at a theme
park is lower than being injured in a car accident, the reality is that
it is nearly impossible to determine the true safety of rides as there
is no federal agency that has enforcement power over the parks or is responsible
for collecting data. Like the attractions in Florida, many parks self-report
injuries, potentially leading to a skewed public perception.
recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus, Ohio’s
Nationwide Children’s Hospital, researchers looked at injuries to
children that resulted from amusement rides, including ones found at local
malls or restaurants. They found that from 1990 to 2010, 92,885 children
under the age of 18 were treated in United States emergency departments
for ride-related injuries and that more than 70 percent of these injuries
occurred in the warmer months between May and September, coinciding with
Thus, on average, injuries resulting from amusement parks resulted in more
than 20 emergency room visits each day during the summer months. Injuries
were most commonly the result of a fall or by hitting a body part on a
ride. Moreover, the injuries that resulted occurred mostly in the head
and neck region followed by the arms, face, and legs.
Amusement Park Safety Tips
There are steps that parents can take to prevent children from inadvertently
suffering an injury while enjoying amusement park rides. These include:
- Always following the listed age, height, weight, and health restrictions
posted with each ride.
- Always use safety equipment such as seat belts, safety bars, and other
- Always keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
- Remain seated until a ride comes to a complete stop and you are instructed to exit.
- If you witness any unsafe behavior or malfunctioning equipment while on
a ride, report it immediately to a park employee.
If you or your child has suffered an injury as a result of amusement park
negligence, let the experience and expertise of The Pittman Firm help
you obtain appropriate compensation. Call us today for a free consultation
on your case.