Millions of guests visit amusement parks, all over the world, and safely enjoy billions of rides, concessions and water parks everyday. Amidst all of the whirling and twirling, it can be easy for kids and parents alike to get distracted from standard safety routines and protocol. It’s in these rare times that accidents can occur, but most often they are preventable with the right preparation.
Although we’re not big advocates of stirring up unnecessary concern, we’re also here to help make your family trips and vacations as enjoyable as they can be — and that can mean a reminder to play and stay safe.
10 Ways to Ensure your Trip to an Amusement Park or Fair is Safe:
(1) Prepare before you visit the park. If visiting with young kids, make sure you have a plan in place in case of separation. We’re huge fans of safety tattoos. There are a ton of companies that make these products – they’re temporary, personalized fun tattoos designed for excursions. It’s an easy way to visibly label all your children with direct contact information.
(2) Rehearse the rules. If you’re travelling with older kids, have them recite back any emergency plan. Make sure they know where to meet up with you (in an easy-to-remember spot) in case you’re split up. If you split up intentionally, again, make sure there’s a plan to reconvene and implement various check-in points in case of emergency.
When dealing with the variety of rides that kids may encounter (height, loud noises, darkness and so on) offer your children tips on how to respond quickly in an “emergency” – for example, if they accidentally undo their seatbelt before the ride stops or they lose their hat/sunglasses.
(3) Consider Appropriate Clothing and attire. Pre-teens and teenagers are often into style and fashion no matter where they go and this includes theme parks and fairs. Many kids want to wear open-toe shoes, wedge heels, style their hair long and loose, wear accessories and so-on. Many rides will not allow certain footwear and accessories can be extremely dangerous on rides (hitting patrons in the face, breaking lose and harming other people etc). Try to encourage everyone in the family to wear more fitted clothes (so they stay snug on rides), running shoes (or comfortable, casual shoes) and leave the accessories at home for the day.
(4) Check over the Ride. When going to local, travelling fairs, we recommend checking out rides for yourself to see how comfortable you would feel having your kids and elderly family hop aboard. Are the ticket takers checking restraints? Are they watching for people disobeying ride rules? Does it sound right? There are many stories of ride gone wrong at even the largest of fairs, so don’t get too comfortable as a parent. Make sure your kids’ safety is always at the forefront of your mind.
(5) Restraints. Obey size and weight rules as they’re designed for a reason. Also, place the smallest kids away from the doors or wide openings on their seats. Use all seatbelts and restraints that are offered.
(6) Remain seated until the very end. While it’s tempting to unbuckle your belt and hop off as the ride is slowing down (lets be honest, we’re all excited to get to the next ride) this is when accidents may occur. Remind kids and teens to patiently wait for the instructed time to disembark and do it carefully (no running).
(7) Take breaks. Many rides today (spinning, severe drops, intense speed) can have quite an impact on your body. We recommend spacing out the ones with the biggest impact. It keeps the day more exciting and allows kids time to recover. Find other ways to have fun between rides.
(8) Be clean. Remember your hand sanitizer and try to apply it regularly throughout the day. We also make frequent stops to actually hand wash in restrooms. Waiting until the end of the day might be too late if your family rubs their eyes or touches their mouth.
(9) Avoid bare feet. No matter how hot you get, keep those shoes on — even in water park areas. If you’re planning a trip to an amusement park with water facilities, bring special shoes.
(10) Stay hydrate and protect the family from weather (sun, rain, cold etc). Don’t forget your basic family guidelines just because you’re caught up in the fun and excitement. Take regular water breaks and encourage young ones to drink and eat regularly. Find fun ways to get fluid into them even if it means special snacks or drinks at the park or fair.
What do the parks themselves do to ensure the safety of its patrons?
Safety rules, height/weight restrictions and seat belts/restraints are the park’s way of maintaining order and some sort of protocol.
They often have security guards that walk around and keep an eye out for certain disruptive behaviour.
Any broken glass or sharp objects should be reported to staff so they can quickly remove it from the park or ride.
For those families who are still concerned, you can always check out a park’s safety record online