Every family knows the joys of a day at the amusement park — the thrill of the rollercoasters, the taste of fried foods and sweets, and the splashy fun of a water ride. And while there can be downsides, like waiting in long lines, getting sunburned, or listening to screaming kids, most of these complaints can be filed as minor.
No one wants to have to picture it, but there is the potential for real harm when you enter an amusement park. Approximately 30,000 people are injured in American amusement parks every year. These injuries range from mild to serious all across the country. And while abduction numbers at parks are relatively low, everyone knows the horror of reaching down for your child’s hand only to find them missing. And we all know that is something worth avoiding at all costs. Let’s look at two big ways to plan for a safe trip without injury or a missing family member.
- Read about your park
When amusement parks close, there is usually a long list of complaints that led them to that day. Most local newspapers will be quick to cover a story like that. A simple online search will let you know if your destination has had a lot of issues with safety or other issues.
You can also check out other standards that may matter to you. Does your state require the ride operators to be tested for drugs and alcohol? If not, is there a park nearby that requires it as a company policy? It may be worth it to you to make that park your destination.
Think about the history and the maintenance of the park, as well. Has it had the same rides for decades? Are they in proper working order and how is that verified? Ask friends and relatives about their experiences with the park, and also take a look at the review page online.
- Have a plan for losing track of each other
It is a good idea to do a walk-through of the park with your children. Showing them the landmarks in person, and where they appear on the map if your child is old enough, can be a safeguard against missing each other.
Always have a child under 13, or older depending on the level of maturity, assigned to an adult or older teen. If you do split into pairs or smaller groups, make sure at least one person in each group has a cell phone.
Choose a location or landmark as a meeting point in case you do end up losing track of each other. Your park may already have a station for finding each other or making announcements, so look into that when you arrive.
If the worst does happen, don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated, local attorney to help you navigate the situation. But hopefully, it won’t reach that point — being prepared about your park choice, informed about your surroundings, and working as a team with your family can make your experience safe and fun