Ask your children what they love best about summer and most would probably answer “Amusement parks!” Theme and amusement parks are big business. Each year 297 million Americans enjoy more than 1.7 billion rides at our country’s 400 fixed-site amusement parks (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), including several in Kootenai County.Unfortunately sometimes park visitors leave with more than a little sunburn because enjoying amusement park rides and attractions carries some risk of serious injury.

Amusement Park Injuries Can Be Serious

Many park rides are designed to produce thrills and a chill of fear. By design, they move with speed and sudden accelerations and stops, or excessive side-to-side motion. These types of movements can cause impact bruising, strains and fractures. Whiplash injuries are common. Also, the stress and excitement of rides may aggravate seizures and heart problems in older adults.

Amusement park ride accidents are most frequently caused by:

  • Ride malfunction
  • Inadequate restraints
  • Insufficient safety warnings
  • Operator error or negligence
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Rider horseplay
  • Weather conditions

Because there are no mandatory federal safety standards for amusement park rides, the responsibility for inspections, equipment standards and operator training falls to each state. Both Idaho and Washington have inspection and safety requirements as well as many local ordinances.

Use Common Sense for a Safe Amusement Park Visit

The Bendell Law Firm in Coeur D’Alene, ID, urges you to take precautions to prevent injury by observing safe riding behaviors:

  • Read ride postings carefully and obey height and weight rules, especially for those who are have physical limitations or are pregnant.
  • Keep seated on rides and make sure that arms, heads and legs stay inside.
  • Use lap bars and seat belts correctly.
  • Stay seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Never get off the ride until the operator gives the okay.
  • Avoid loose clothing and long skirts.
  • Stay away from alcohol and caffeine – drink water instead.

If you are bringing small children:

  • Follow your instincts – even if your child meets the size restrictions, avoid a ride if you feel it will be too intense or rough.
  • Observe each ride for one cycle so you can show your child the exit, safety restraints and the operator’s job.
  • Show children how to find a uniformed park employee if they become separated from you and choose a family meeting place in advance.

Was Your Amusement Park Injury Caused by Negligence?

If you or a family member has been injured at an amusement park, you may have a strong premises liability case. Determining who is at fault takes an experienced Idaho personal injury attorney. Call Attorney James Bendell at 208-215-2255 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.