Memorial Day has come and gone, and the thermometer is headed for 90 degrees today – that can mean only one thing – fair and carnival season is on the way! Fairs and carnivals are as much a part of summer as baseball and apple pie, but they are not without their dangers. Fried food and carnival barkers trying to get you to lay down your money are the most apparent, but far from the most serious danger you will face. The real danger is one you may not even think about; the rides.
We spend our entire lives going to fairs, carnivals and amusement parks, but never give much thought to the safety of the rides we get on. They are supposed to be scary, right? Scary, yes, but not unsafe.
A New York State Department of Labor website, www.ridesafeny.com, has information to help ensure kids of all ages have SAFE fun this summer at the fair, festival, carnival and amusement park.
The website includes separate tips for parents and children.
Tips for parents
For the parents, they list the Top 10 Safety Tips. Here are the first five:
- Remember – you’re the one who knows your child best; the ride operator doesn’t. While your child may be tall enough to ride an amusement ride, it still may not be appropriate for him or her. Some children are afraid of heights, some are afraid of the dark and others have trouble staying seated. The ride attendant does not know your child – you do. Please carefully watch what the ride does before allowing your child to participate.
- Watch before you ride. Before you put your child on a ride, watch it first. That way, your child will know what to expect. It’s also a good idea to read the warning sign aloud with your child, and to point out the ride operator and the exit and entrance locations.
- Obey minimum height, age, weight and health restrictions.
- Don’t put children on rides they’re afraid of. Make sure your child knows not to try to get off the ride, even if he or she becomes afraid. If your child gets scared, ask if the ride can be stopped.
- Keep small children away from open sides. Always seat them on the inside.
Tips for kids
For children, these are among the suggestions:
- Obey the listed age, height, weight, and health restrictions.
- Observe all posted ride safety rules.
- Watch the ride first, so you know what to expect. Look and see where riders are loaded and unloaded.
- Dress for safety – secure loose clothing, jewelry and long hair. Wear closed-toed shoes or sneakers.
- Keep your head, hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride at all times. Don’t reach toward fences or barriers.
- Remain seated in the ride, in the “locked and loaded” position, until it comes to a complete stop and you are instructed to exit.
There is also information on the laws regulating parks in the state. The DOL enforces amusement ride safety across the state, except in New York City.
Before you head out for family fun this summer, make sure everyone takes a moment to be prepared. The state has provided a valuable resource that every parent should be aware of.
A few minutes could save someone in your family from a serious injury or fatality.
Thanks for reading.
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901