Fox Business Interview, Study on Childhood Injuries at Amusement Parks

Theme Park News

A few weeks ago I was interviewed on The Willis Report on Fox Business. I was asked to give my take on a new study that looked at childhood injuries at amusement parks. The study’s headline is: “Amusement Rides Injure 4,400+ Kids A Year”

Here’s the interview:

I found it interesting that the study broke out what it called mall rides. They raise a great point about awareness:

“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 Dr. Smith, who is also a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “We need to raise awareness of this issue and determine the best way to prevent injuries from these types of rides.”

The study includes these steps to insure that your child is safer:

  • Always follow all posted height, age, weight and health restrictions.
  • Make sure to follow any special seating order and/or loading instructions.
  • Always use safety equipment such as seat belts and safety bars.
  • Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
  • Know your child. If you don’t think he/she will be able to follow the rules, keep him/her off the ride.
  • Trust your instincts. If you are worried about the safety of the ride, choose a different activity.
  • Avoid “mall rides” if they are over a hard, un-padded surface or if they don’t have a child restraint such as a seat belt.

I have two small children and by nature I pretty much hover over them and always help them in and out of rides, but I could see how some parents might not be as attentive when it comes to these smaller rides. Also, there’s no ride attendant or operator for these rides like there are at amusement parks and carnivals.

The study’s other major finding is that fixed amusement parks and mobile rides are regulated differently and it calls for more consistent regulation.

Read more highlights from the study: Amusement Parks Injure 4,400+ Kids A Year

What’s Your Take?
What do you think about the study? Leave a comment below.

12 Comments

  1. Joel, great job defending roller coasters and the amusement park industry by going onto the show prepared and sounding confident. I think that most of the rides this study referred to were probably of the small mall rides you see. I think many people always think that if something looks scary, it must be dangerous. However, a roller coaster is safer than riding in an airplane. I think Fox should have done a better job educating the public on what the study really showed, and that the amusement park industry is, in reality, a safe and fun way to get the adrenaline pumping. Congratulations on the appearance!

    Reply
    • Thanks. I was wondering if they were going to go the sensationalism route. Really, aside from the last question they didn’t. I just tried to put the study’s numbers in context.

      Reply
  2. Great job Joel! I agree with everything you said. Oh, and for a park I wouldn’t feel safe at:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Park‎

    Reply
    • That’s the park that had that crazy water slide with a loop in it. I guess I can see why they closed it.

      I had only a few hours to prepare for the interview, but they did send me the questions. Well, except for the one about “most dangerous parks”. I had to think on the fly and I didn’t want to throw a particular park under the bus.

      Reply
  3. You pretty spoke my mind word for word. Amazing! You did a great job on the interview. Interestingly, and I’m sure you already know this, but it’s typically the smaller rides that cause the most injuries, not the larger “scarier” ones. You’re right in saying that people often let their guard down at the “mall rides”. But there’s also the fact that the parks that can afford the big rides also know what they’re doing.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kinds words. I didn’t have much time to prepare and just spoke what I thought. I’m glad that I seemed to have represented the thoughts of other enthusiasts as well.

      Reply
  4. Great Job standing up for the industry and parks, though for me I would have said Mount Olympus as the park that I don’t feel completely safe at, even though Cyclops is my current #1, I honestly felt safer in the very back of Cyclops then I did in the front row of Zeus, or if I ever ride Hades 360 (which sadly, despite how much I’m against it I’ll likely ride), which is kind of ironic knowing how insane it is, the age limit is there for a reason,
    But on a side note, this kind of reminds me of the whole ‘video games=violence thing, which is not true, as is this, (it’s not the ride or the park’s fault (with exceptions of course in this case)), it’s the person who either plays the video games (say GTA for example) or the person who rides the ride or jumps the fence (incidents with B&M inverts) or breaks any of the rules, and if an accident occurs like a derailment or anything like that, it’s partly the parks fault (unless its Action Park as mentioned by Nick), and the maintenance crew or manufacturer, but those accident are rare in the US and Europe at least (not to sure about other places though, could be wrong though), and that is honestly the only exception to the rule here,
    But it does surprise me that the smaller rides are the dangerous one,

    Reply
    • Good points CoDAce. I think the smaller rides are involved in so many injuries because toddlers and young children aren’t super co-ordinated and careful and also because there are cases where parents just aren’t there to help the kids in and out of rides. That’s my guess at least.

      It’d be pretty easy for a 3 or 4 year old to trip when getting out of a Chuck E. Cheese or little coin operated ride if the parent was just like: “Come on. Let’s go!” And didn’t pick the kid out and help them.

      Reply
  5. Great job and well spoken! I hope travel channel can bring you on in the next coaster wars. Good to hear somebody speak clear and not go “Um” at the beginning of every sentence that you hear today. Well done.

    Reply
    • Thanks Marco. I’m glad that I didn’t seem as nervous as I really was. I did Coaster Wars last year and I’d love to do it again.

      Reply
  6. Great job, as a lot of people dont know, rollercoasters are one of the safest things you can go on. There has only been 3 deaths (that i know of) on coasters in the us. I have, however broken my wrist on bizzaro because the opperator pinned my wrist between the bar and seat :/, but you did an awesome job. Keep stating the facts!

    Reply
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