Amusement parks are hubs of fun. Aside from our crowded beaches and beautiful public landmarks, the summertime comes with a large influx of visitors to our nearby amusement parks. With Walt Disney World being a worldwide tourist attraction, and Busch Gardens being a wildly popular local park (just to name a few), those of us in the Bay Area have more than just a few options when it comes to having a good time. Whether you want to splash around in the lazy river, burn rubber at the go-kart track, or feel the wind on an exhilarating roller coaster, you’ll have to leave the safety of your own home. Let’s face it, even the drive to and from your theme park of choice has its own list of dangers. At any time, a distracted driver could run a red light and crash into your vehicle. Are you prepared to be in a collision? Are you knowledgeable on the basics of recovery when you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident?
We spend days…weeks…even months and years planning family trips to amusement parks. When all the focus is on finances, travel coordinating, hotel booking, and attraction planning, the last thing on anyone’s mind is injuries. It isn’t logical to make yourself familiar with every possible hazard in an amusement park and aim to avoid those hazards. Instead, you should simply aim to make yourself comfortable with these dangers, and rest assured that you’ll know what to do in case any of them arise. After all, injuries are quite the opposite of amusing, so take this opportunity to educate yourself. Here are the most common amusement park injuries and what you can do to avoid them.
Ride Related Injuries
Before the ride: Prepping Up!
Do you know how many people enjoy waiting in line at the amusement park? None. Believe it or not, your family and friends are not the only ones eager to board that exciting rollercoaster or waterslide that everyone has been talking about it. Don’t let that excitement get the best of you! There are a handful of mistakes people make while impatiently waiting for access to a theme park attraction; don’t be one of those people!
- Cutting in line can anger an already frustrated attendee. If push comes to shove, a fight could break out. Not only is this unacceptable behavior for a public park full of children, but it can lead to serious injuries for everyone nearby. Be fair; don’t cut!
- Rides of high elevation often require park-goers to climb countless sets of stairs for entry. These stairs will be dirty; these stairs will be wet; these stairs will be dangerous. Take your time on the way to the ride and make the best of a potentially long line-wait. After all, you can’t do anything about it, right?
- Rides have rules and regulations. If you don’t meet them, don’t lie about it to get on. If a ride has a height requirement, don’t stand on your tippy toes to meet it.
Once you’ve made it to through the line and to boarding area of the attraction, you’ve successfully made it past a dangerous (albeit the safest) section of territory. Now, however, you’ve got to actually get on the ride itself and prepare for the most dangerous section.
Tip: When you’re tediously waiting in a line with your family and friends, have some consideration for others. Keep an eye on the members of your group (especially children) and keep moving. The wait will be over before you know it.
During the ride: Brace Yourself!
Rollercoaster safety has improved tenfold over the years. Back when they were mainly wooden structures with bumpy tracks and unstable train cars, injuries were more common. Nowadays however, the research, planning, and work put into building just a single rollercoaster is greater than ever and proves to be effective. Rollercoaster defects are down to a minimum and injuries continue to grow increasingly rare. However, aside from the uncommon injury on a modern day attraction, older rides still inhabit some of our local parks and prove to be troublesome. Injuries on a rollercoaster include:
- Whiplash from being tossed around.
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury from head trauma during the ride.
- Drowning in/on a water-based attraction.
- Falling off of the ride due to faulty passenger restraints.
It’s good to know that people are hard at work making thrill rides as safe as possible, but negligence is unpredictable. If someone responsible for a portion of your (and other attendees) safety makes a mistake, it could lead to some serious pain and suffering for you or a loved one.
Tip: Note and follow all directions, instructions, warnings, etc., (direct and implied) given either verbally by park employees or visually by signs. It’s in everybody’s best interest to avoid accidents, so try to work with everyone.
After the ride: “Wooooh!”
The way people feel after getting off of a ride is always a mixed bag. Some will feel great; others will feel unsettling stomach churns as they wobble to the nearest bathroom. What’s important is that you know your limits. If you get on a startling ride fully aware of the fact that you’ve got a weak stomach, you’re begging for harsh repercussions. More importantly, if you’ve got health conditions that react poorly to extreme thrills, you’ll probably want to avoid anything too serious. Common conditions after getting off of a ride include:
- Harmful heart reactions
The most dangerous part of all of this is the fact that you’ve usually got to descend the stairs after the ride. The only challenge is that this time, you may be disorientated. Being careful and taking your time to recover after the excessive g-forces is crucial; don’t rush back into the fun.
Tip: Be well aware of any health conditions that you or a loved one may have that could react badly to the thrill of an amusement park attraction.
Non-Ride Related Injuries
Falling: Hold On Tight!
Believe it or not, falling is by far the most common way that children and adults alike get injured in amusement parks. Trip or slip-and-fall accidents are shockingly common no matter where you go, but they run rampant here. When park attendees get off of water rides, for example, their soaking wet clothes will leave behind a slippery surprise for others. Just a slight loss of footing and you may find yourself in pain on the ground with injuries including, but not limited to:
- Broken or sprained bones
- Pulled muscles or ligaments
- Bleeding wounds, scrapes, and/or cuts
- Traumatic brain injury
Falling injuries can occur in other ways as well. Stairs are necessary in these parks to get to the top of certain rides. When combined with the slippery nature of wet (or algae-covered) asphalt or metal, stairs become a huge hazard.
Tip: To help prevent slip-and-falls, wear comfortable shoes with decent traction, avoid obvious slip hazards, and most importantly, watch your step!
Exhaustion: Crank Down the Heat!
It can get pretty hot all year round here in Florida, but it’s no surprise that during the summer months when amusement parks are most busy, the sun is blazing. When your family steps out of the air-conditioned automobile, it should become clear that the heat is a nuisance. Will you do your best to tolerate the overwhelming temperatures, or have you planned to do something about it? Choosing to spend the day unprotected from the sun’s harmful UV rays is only one of the many bad choices you can make on a fiery summer’s day. Some common health problems obtained from long periods of time spent in a toasty theme park environment are:
- Severe sunburn
- Heat rashes
If it’s not obvious, your skin can’t tolerate the summer sun for too long on its own. Besides the risk of dehydration from excessive sweating, your skin can burn to a crisp! These injuries are surprisingly common and leave park attendees wishing they’d made the simple decision to combat the rays.
Tip: Stay hydrated with an abundance of water. Don’t forget about the children! To prevent painful burns, use waterproof sunblock, and then use more!
Collisions: Watch Where You’re Going!
When you’ve paid the costly park entry fee for your whole family, you’ll want to make the most out of the experience as you can. With that said, you can imagine a hefty amount of excited children weaving wildly past your legs in a rush to get to the coolest rides. This is risky and dangerous behavior for everyone, but as mature adults, we’ve got to look out for the children. When you’re walking in groups and talking with friends or family, it’s easy to get distracted. However, don’t let that be the reason you walk into someone else’s kid and knock them over. Collisions can happen in many different places across amusement parks, with examples ranging from:
- People forcefully running into each other, normally resulting in minor-to-moderate bodily injuries.
- Parking lot car-to-pedestrian collision. Depending on the speed of the collision, this could result in serious and even fatal injuries.
- Walking in to low-hanging park décor, props, signs, etc., and hitting your head can give you a bad headache and potentially damage the brain. Look out!
While these types of injuries are less common and not specifically tied to amusement parks, they still occur. Having an open-mind and preparing yourself for the worst is always the best way to go about it. Unlike during Black Friday stampedes, person-to-person collisions in amusement parks are pretty rare. But when your child’s well-being is preserved because you warned him or her about the dangers of running uncontrollably through the park, you’ll be glad you did.
Tip: Kids are known to run in parks. Explain to them the size and scale of a theme park and how danger is far more imminent here than at your local playground. Stay attentive, stay together, and your experience is sure to be a pleasant one.
SPEAK WITH AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY IN THE CLEARWATER & TAMPA BAY AREA FOR FREE
Amusement parks generally allow family and friends to have a great time together. On the saddening occasion that one of these parks is the reason for your pain and suffering, you may be looking for help. In order to have a fighting chance, you’ll need to figure out whose negligence led to your injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive significant financial compensation which will assist you in recovering after your physical, mental, emotional, and financial losses. At Dolman Law Group, we are dedicated to aggressively fighting for wrongfully injured victims of negligence. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney. For more information on the topic of personal injury, visit our website or give us a call at 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765