roller coaster

A new study reveals that between 1990 and 2010, 92,885 children under the age of 18 were treated in emergency departments for amusement ride-related injuries in the United States. Most injuries occurred between May and September, averaging about 20 injuries per day during those summer months.

The study, conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, examined injuries to children related to rides at amusement parks (fixed-site rides), rides at fairs and festivals (mobile rides) and rides found at local malls, stores, restaurants or arcades (mall rides). Key findings include:

  • The head and neck region was the most frequently injured (28 percent), followed by arm (24 percent), face (18 percent) and leg (17 percent) injuries.
  • Soft tissue injuries (29 percent) were the most common injury type followed by strains and sprains (21 percent), cuts (20 percent) and broken bones (10 percent).
  • Injuries were most likely to be sustained as the result of a fall (32 percent), or by either hitting a part of a body on a ride or being hit by something while riding (18 percent).
  • Nearly one-third (33 percent) of injuries occurred on a fixed-site ride, followed by mobile rides (29 percent) and “mall” rides (12 percent).
  • During summer months, injuries serious enough to require hospitalization occur an average of once every 3 days.
  • Injuries occurring from “mall rides” were more likely to be head/neck or face injuries, concussions/closed head injuries or cuts than were injuries associated with fixed site or mobile rides.
  • Almost three-fourths of the mall ride injuries occurred when a child fell in, on, off or against the ride; lack of restraints could be a contributing factor.

“Injuries from smaller amusement rides located in malls, stores, restaurants and arcades are typically given less attention by legal and public health professionals than injuries from larger amusement park rides, yet our study showed that in the U.S. a child is treated in an emergency department, on average, every day for an injury from an amusement ride located in a mall, store, restaurant or arcade,” said the study’s senior author Gary Smith, M.D., DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Amusement Park Safety Shouldn’t Be a Roller Coaster Ride
EHS Today