Selecting rides that are fun, but not too scary; riding safely; and letting the kids ride alone or not, are just a few things to think about as the more than 40 million of us will travel Michigan to enjoy carnivals, amusement rides and water parks this summer season.
“Carnival rides in Michigan are held to the highest safety standards to keep riders safe while enjoying the roller coasters and water slides,” said Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Deputy Director Shelly Edgerton. “We ask riders to do their part and remember ‘safety first.’ Read and follow all of the ride rules and restrictions, and use all the safety equipment provided, because even one injury is one too many.” LARA works to make Michigan a leader in ride safety, inspection and registration of amusement rides to ensure compliance with Michigan’s rules and regulations that protect citizens of all ages while riding.
Edgerton emphasized that if your child is too young, too small or afraid to ride alone, either skip the ride altogether or make sure your child is accompanied by a responsible adult. Most amusement ride injuries are suffered by children under age 13 according to national data compiled by the Saferparks organization (www.saferparks.org). Kids between the ages of seven and 12 account for nearly a third of all ride accidents. Parents should make sure their kids understand safe ride behavior.
Thrill rides are powerful machines, even the “kiddie rides.” There are no mandatory or voluntary standards that require amusement rides to securely contain child riders. Most full-sized rides were designed with adults and teens in mind. The speeds, heights, rapid changes in direction and special effects can overwhelm and panic a child. Slow down and don’t rush from ride to ride. If your kids get tired or aren’t listening to you, take a break. Inexperience, immaturity and horseplay which, when coupled with large machines, can lead to catastrophe.
To reduce the chance of injury for all ages and still enjoy the ride, LARA offers these tips:
· Read and obey all posted rules and restrictions.
· Follow all verbal instructions given by ride operators or provided by recorded announcements.
· Make sure the ride is appropriate for the rider.
· Pay attention to ride height/weight/medical restrictions. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, check with your doctor before riding thrill rides.
· Securely latch seat belts, shoulder harness and lap bars. Hold on to handrails; use grab bars.
· Keep hands, arms, legs, and feet inside the ride at all times. Do not ride with hands in the air. Secure loose hair, clothing, and belongings.
· Stay in the “locked and loaded” position for the entire ride. Never stand up on a ride.
· Adults should never seat a child on their lap unless ride operators indicate it’s safe to do so.
· Never ride when excessively tired or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
· Report any unsafe behavior or conditions on a ride to a ride supervisor or manager immediately.
· Report injuries to a ride supervisor. They will assist the injured and report the injury to LARA. Contact LARA at (517) 241-9202 for more information.
LARA’s Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) licenses 844 amusement rides including water slides and go-karts, carnival rides and roller coasters. New rides for the 2014 summer season in Michigan include two new Ferris wheels, a steam train nearing 100 years old, an Argentinian carousel, a new spinning roller coaster and new waterslides including one with a vertical, drop-floor launch.
LARA inspects amusement rides annually; however, operators are required to conduct daily inspections before operation according to manufacturer criteria, national standards and state law. Michigan has one of the oldest amusement ride safety programs in the country, protecting consumers for 47 years; the first inspection was done in 1967.
About 25 injuries are reported to LARA annually, compared to the estimated 50 million to 100 million rides taken in Michigan each year. The majority of amusement ride injuries result from the riders themselves and are preventable. An examination of approximately 350 ride injuries reported to LARA over a 12-year period indicates that 80 percent were caused by the rider’s actions and the remaining 20 percent were caused by ride operators, failures of the equipment, or a combination of both.
It is important to be aware that inflatable “bounce houses,” bungee jumps and climbing walls are not regulated in Michigan. Users of these devices should follow the same recommendations and be especially alert to the conditions of the device and the attentiveness of the operators.
For more information on amusement ride safety for kids and adults go to:
· Saferparks, “Kids Club” at www.saferparks.org/kids-club
· Disney, “Wild About Safety” at http://disneywildaboutsafety.com/parents/theme-park-safety-tips/
· SaferParks, Sharing Information for Safety Amusement Ride Thrills at www.saferparks.org
· CARES (Council for Amusement and Recreational Equipment Safety) http://caresofficials.org
· Michigan Amusement Safety at www.michigan.gov/amusement
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