Amusement parks can be a true source of joy for young children. Entire families flock to amusement parks for the promise of fun, excitement, and adventure. But in the back of a parent’s mind, certain fears may be lurking. Are these rides truly safe? Are the ride operators paying attention? Is it really supposed to spin like that? Amusement park ride safety is especially important for children, who represent half of those injured or killed in amusement park ride accidents.
In 2004, carnival rides sent 2,500 people to hospital emergency rooms.
In 2006 approximately 8,800 people were injured on amusement park rides.
From 1987 to 2000, 51 people were killed on amusement park rides.
The biggest culprits in these deaths were roller coasters (16 deaths) and whirling rides (11 deaths).
Children represent about one half of those injured by amusement park rides.
Kids between ten and 14 years old sustain the most injuries of any age group.
Children are victims in 75% of accidents involving rider falls or forceful ejection from the ride.
Recent Amusement Park Accidents
September 24, 2010- A carnival ride operator was charged with child abuse, negligence, and obstructing police and fire officials after he re-activated a ride that had been stopped due to unknown reasons. He turned the ride back on as rescue workers were attempting to evacuate the riders.
October 2, 2010- Five people were injured in Middletown, Delaware when the ride they were on fell apart. According to reports, they were onboard the “Merry Mixer” (which is similar to the “Sizzler” made by another manufacturer) when witnesses say that a section of the ride detached and flipped over.
October 7, 2010- Ten people were injured at the Knott’s Berry Farm in Bueno Park, California when two roller coasters crashed into each other. According to reports, when the first coaster was launched, there was not enough force to get it over the first incline. It rolled backward, smashing into another coaster that was loading passengers. 10 people were sent to the hospital with neck and back injuries.
November 1, 2010- Two girls were injured when a wheel from the “Zipper” ride flew off and struck them as they waited in line for a different ride. The incident occurred at the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson, South Carolina.
November 19, 2010- A 21-year-old woman died after falling 30 feet from an “Xtreme” roller coaster at Dixie Landin’ amusement park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Officials have still not determined what caused the fatal accident.
November 23, 2010- A $3.375 million settlement was reached in the case of a near-deadly accident involving a “Yo-Yo” ride collapse in 2008. The amusement park accident left 23 people injured, a majority of them children. The Yo-Yo Chair Ride crashed during the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in Angels Camp, California. State officials determined that the ride was not properly maintained by its owner. It was also discovered that the manufacturer was aware of at least one prior similar incident caused by defective design of the Yo-Yo ride, yet failed to properly warn owners/operators.