Florida has some of the most visited amusement parks in the nation, with rides designed to give thrill-seekers the time of their life.
But while roller coasters, water slides and other amusement rides can produce a rush of exhilaration, they can also cause serious injuries and even fatal injuries in some instances. Operators of amusement parks have a legal responsibility to maintain rides in safe operating condition to protect consumers from injury.
The National Safety Council reports that 315 million people visited some 357 fixed-site amusement parks nationwide in 2013. There were a total of 1,221 ride-related injuries, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
53 percent of the injuries took place on family and adult rides.
6 percent of injuries took place on children’s rides, a 17 percent decline from the previous year.
Injuries sustained from riding roller coasters, tallied separately, made up 40.5 percent of injuries, a 4.1 decrease from 2012.
Trend of Increasing Injuries in Recent Years
When mobile rides such as carnival swings, roller coasters, moon walks, water slides and other events are taken into account, the number of injuries increases dramatically.
Amusement attraction injuries treated at emergency departments rose by about 45 percent over one five-year reporting period, increasing to 43,846 in 2012, including inflatable attractions such as water slides and rides at shopping malls. The estimated number of injuries dipped back to 40,901 in 2014, according to figures from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The number of people who were killed from amusement ride injuries jumped to 1,201 in 2014 from 713 in 2008.
With inflatable rides such as the moon walk and bounce houses becoming popular at elementary school field days, carnivals and other events, the number of injuries related to those contraptions has increased in the last decade.
From 2003 to 2013, an estimated 113,272 emergency department-treated injuries were connected with inflatable amusements, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
More than 90 percent were linked to moon bounces.
61 percent of the estimated injuries affected children ages 4 to 15 in 2011-13.
Two-thirds of the injuries were to the legs and arms.
The commission recorded 12 deaths involving inflatable amusements from 2003-13.
The number of treated injuries increased every year, rising to 18,841 in 2012 from 5,311 in 2003 before dipping back to 17,377 in 2013.
Responsible adults should supervise bounce houses at all times.
Children should not be allowed to enter without adult supervision.
Shoes, jewelry, eyeglasses, hair clips and other sharp objects should be removed before children enter.
No food, drink or silly string should be allowed.
Once riders enter the bounce house, no flipping, wrestling, running, pushing or climbing walls should be allowed.
Children of varying ages and sizes shouldn’t be allowed inside together.
If winds exceed 20 mph or rain begins to fall, children should exit the bounce house and it should be turned off.
If the blower motor stops, the children should leave calmly.
Amusement parks and carnivals can create some lasting memories for families. But in our zeal to have fun, it is important to stay focused on safety to prevent injuries.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured at a Florida amusement park or in an inflatable bounce house, you may be eligible to obtain compensation for medical bills and other expenses. Contact an attorney experienced with handling these types of cases to make sure you receive the award you deserve to cover expenses and injuries.