Children all across America look forward to the time of year when the fair rolls into town – the rides, animals, food, and games are enough to make any child (or adult) excited. Many local fairs, festivals, and carnivals are held at amusement parks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USPS), more than 30,000 children were treated at emergency rooms in 2016 due to injuries linked to amusement parks. These injuries ranged from minor bruises to broken bones to death.
Safety Tips for a Fun Fair Experience
Although it is easy for children to get lost in all the hype, it is important to keep some tips in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
Follow the Rules
Be sure to supervise your children to ensure they are riding on age and height-appropriate rides. Rides have height requirements for a reason, and although there are safety bars and harnesses on many rides, they are not designed to fit people under a certain size, so be sure that your child reaches the minimum height requirement before allowing them to ride on a ride. This tip applies even if you are riding with your child – do not allow your children to ride rides for which they do not meet the height requirements. If a child slips out of a ride while it is activated, they can be seriously injured.
Also, just because a child is in a fun-designated environment does not mean that “anything goes.” Do not let your child climb fences or access areas that are specifically cordoned off from the public.
Ensure the Emotional Readiness of Your Child Before Allowing Him or Her to Board Certain Rides
Even if your child meets the ride’s height requirement, a ride still may be too extreme for them. Watch the ride before choosing to board it and review the warning signs together to make sure your child is prepared for what to expect. If you suspect that your child may get frightened on the ride, ask the ride operator whether many children your child’s age frequently ride the ride. If the ride operator seems skeptical, it may be best to choose a different ride. Once a ride has been activated, it can often only be stopped in emergency situations and children who get scared and try to get off a ride while it is still moving can get injured.
Designate Meeting Spots
Of course, parents should always supervise children at a carnival or fair. Still, it is a good idea once you enter the fairground area to designate a meeting spot should you get separated from your child. With so many people in a limited area, it may be easy for you to lose sight of your child, or for your child to mistake a stranger for you once getting off a ride, and then get lost. In this scenario, it would be ideal to be able to meet up at a landmark that is easy to find. Upon entering the park, choose a bright and memorable meeting spot and instruct your child to only ask people in fair uniforms, ticket booth attendees, or police officers for directions to this meeting spot.
We all want our families to have memorable, but safe experiences at the fair. Should your child get injured or become lost while at the fair, inform the fair operators and police immediately.
JoyLands – 5 Safety Tips to Consider When at a Carnival
Chicago Tribune – Carnival safety tips for your kids