The Most Dangerous Amusement Park Rides: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Study

With summertime quickly approaching, the season for amusement park visits is on the horizon. Amusement and theme parks have become a multi-billion dollar industry, and people throughout the United States look forward to the heart-racing roller coaster rides and tasty treats that can be found at different theme parks across the nation. What many people don’t consider, however, when planning a day at the amusement park is the very real potential for injury or harm that they can be at risk of while visiting any one of the park’s many attractions.

In a recent study conducted by researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the number of pediatric injuries treated in the emergency room from amusement park rides was assessed from 1990 to 2010, and the results were unsettling to say the least. According the study’s report, which was published by Clinical Pediatrics, nearly 21% of all pediatric injuries that required a visit to the ER were sustained on carousels and merry-go-rounds. Far fewer injuries occurred on the presumably more dangerous rides such as roller coasters (which accounted for 10% of all pediatric injuries) and bumper cars (which accounted for only 4% of pediatric injuries).

Also included in the study’s data were findings which indicate that most amusement park injuries occurred over hard floors, resulting in damage to the head. Additionally, the study found girls to be more prone to injuries at a theme park, with a 55%:45% girl-to-boy ratio. Annually, more than 4,400 injuries are sustained at amusement parks nationwide, which equates to approximately 20 a day! To date, most of the lawsuits and settlements for amusement park injury cases remain private, and the study suggests that theme park companies are in the habit of going after unsuccessful plaintiffs for the purpose of obtaining reimbursement for legal expenses.

While an amusement park injury is not typically the first thing to come to mind for visitors of these parks, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney says that, “it is not unexpected that claims will occasionally be filed against [the] company.” Currently, the regulatory system for fixing rides is fragmented and can fall on local or state governments, depending on the circumstances at hand. For rides that travel from town to town, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction. The disjointed oversight system needs to be coordinated if our nation wishes to prevent future injuries from amusement rides.

Until the proper action is taken to adequately protect the visitors of any amusement park in the U.S., we can expect injuries and accidents to continue. At The Senators Firm, we are acutely aware of the inherent dangers that come with visiting an amusement park and partaking in the activities at such a venue. Accordingly, we offer our professional legal services to persons who have been injured and are looking to rectify the situation through legal compensation. With the help of our team of California personal injury attorneys, you can work toward obtaining the compensation that you both need and deserve at this time.