Children as well as adults enjoy visiting amusement parks, and Orlando’s attractions draw millions of tourists and locals alike each year. While part of the thrill is the threat of danger from being suspended at great heights or by going at high speeds, it is important to take the appropriate safety precautions to ensure you and your families safety. While accidents and injuries can occur when park regulations and ride safety instructions are not followed, there are cases in which the ride itself or the overall park management is actually too blame. Whatever the cause, amusement park ride accidents can cause tragic injuries and devastating losses, and understanding the potential risks you face when visiting these places can help to protect you and those you love from being injured.
Amusement Park Accidents and Government Regulations
According to an August 2016 Orlando Sentinel report on amusement park safety, a recent string of accidents involving visitors have prompted calls for more stringent oversight of the amusement ride industry. Over a five-day span, three separate and serious accidents involving children at parks in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Kansas were reported, leaving two children dead and several others with serious and potentially life threatening injuries. While none of the accidents occurred in Florida, our state has seen its share of amusement and theme park tragedies, including the latest incident that involved a three-year-old boy who was killed by an alligator while vacationing at a Disney World resort with his family. According to the news article, there have been 13 deaths associated with the resort’s rides over the past 10 years, and more than 80 separate incidents involving guests at these types of attractions in the state since the beginning of 2015. While Florida’s major amusement attractions, such as Universal, Disney, and Seaworld, are not subject to federal regulations or state inspections, safety advocates are calling for more stringent oversight of these types of park to help ensure accidents do not occur.
Safety Tips For Visiting Amusement Parks
Despite a lack of government oversight, there are simple steps you can follow to keep you and your loved ones safe while visiting amusement parks. Safer Parks, an advocacy group for amusement park safety, recommends doing the following:
- Respect the forces at work on certain rides, and the ways in which they can put stress on certain body parts;
- Consider the speeds and heights of different attractions, and whether you are physically and mentally equipped to deal with these challenges;
- Pay attention to rider height and weight guidelines, as well as health warnings for people with heart issues, neck or back problems, or anxiety disorders;
- Read or listen closely to all safety instructions, and make sure all harnesses, belts, or straps are secured and adjusted properly;
- Do not engage in daring or dangerous behavior, such as standing up on a seated ride, putting your hands or arms outside your individual car or compartment, or taking off safety harnesses before the ride has stopped.
Contact Us for Professional Representation
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries while visiting an amusement park or on one of the rides, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys right away. At Hogan Frick, we can advise you on how to hold negligent park owners responsible for the injuries you suffer, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover.