July 16, 2014

10 Things to Keep in Mind if You Take Your Kids to a NY Amusement Park This Summer

By Jonathan Damashek

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new york city injury lawyerAmusement parks can be a great way to build fun family memories, especially in the summer.  But they can also pose risks of injury to you and your children.  If you and your kids are planning an amusement park adventure, keep in mind these safety tips from the New York Department of Labor:

1. Follow all warnings and instructions, and tell your kids to do the same.

Pay attention to posted warnings and instructions, and listen when ride operators give instructions.  Tell your kids to do the same – and remind them that if they cannot follow these rules, they cannot go on the ride.

2. Keep yourself “inside the ride.”

Keep your hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving.  Don’t reach outside the ride, especially toward stationary objects.  Tuck in loose clothing and secure long hair in a ponytail, braid, or under a hat.  Wait till the ride comes to a complete stop before getting out.

3. Avoid drinking and distraction.

Treat amusement park rides like you would a car.  Even though you’re not the one driving, you should still avoid drinking alcohol, taking medications or drugs, and distractions like texting while you’re enjoying an amusement park ride.  Staying alert will help you stay safe and truly enjoy the moment.

4. Double-check restraining devices.

Some rides have latches, harnesses, or seat belts designed to help you stay in the ride.  Latch these properly, then double-check both your own restraint and your kids to make sure they’re latched.  Never loosen or detach a restraining device until the ride stops and the operator tells you to do so.

5. Supervise children closely in water parks.

Water-based rides need additional care.  In addition to the rules for other amusement park rides, make sure that at least one adult is watching the kids at all times.  Teach kids to walk on pool decks and surroundings – never to run.

6. Always slide feet first.

Sliding head-first down water slides is a major cause of head and neck injuries.  Protect yourself by always sliding feet-first and by encouraging kids to do the same.

7. Use floatation devices when needed.

Children who cannot swim on their own may need a personal flotation device to enjoy some water park attractions, and they may be prohibited by water park rules from enjoying other attractions.  Double-check the water park’s rules before you go, and make sure kids wear floatation devices when needed.

8. Pay attention to park rules regarding small children.

Never hold small children on your lap in go-carts, bumper cars, or other rides.  Don’t assume that children are safe on a ride if you hold them – if the child cannot ride safely alone, he or she cannot ride safely in your lap.  Follow age, height, and weight restrictions.

9. “Gut-check” with the child before each ride.

Even if a child is old enough or large enough to go on a particular ride, he or she might be afraid of the ride or hesitant to go on it.  Check with your child before each ride.  If your child is hesitant or afraid, don’t push the issue.  Instead, find a ride that your child wants to ride.

10. Follow safety instructions in “bouncy castles” closely.

Large inflatable toy houses or castles are a popular feature in amusement parks, carnivals, and backyard birthday parties – but they can cause serious injury if set up improperly, as a South Glens Falls family learned when the bounce house’s tethers came unhooked on a windy day, causing serious injury, according to the New York Department of Labor.

If you or someone you love is injured in an amusement park accident this summer, it’s important to understand your legal options to receive compensation to cover your medical bills. Call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C.  We’re ready to help you investigate what happened and fight for the compensation you deserve.  Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.