Parental Safety Tips
Treat amusement ride safety seriously, just like traffic safety, water safety, and bike safety. Teach your children how to be safe riders, but don't rely on verbal instructions to keep young child safe around heavy machinery.
* Can your child follow directions and stay seated?
* How familiar is your child with amusement rides?
* Is your child easily frightened?
* Is your child a risk-taker?
* How well does your child fit within the restraint system?
Watch the ride with your child before boarding.
Read warning signs aloud.
* Point out the ride attendants and the loading/unloading locations.
* Explain that rides sometimes stop temporarily, but that riders must never get off until the attendant tells them to.
* Talk about what to do if your child gets frightened while the ride is moving. Tell them NOT to get out of the car.
* Explain that amusement rides might seem scary, but they're not dangerous, as long as riders hold on tight,
stay seated, and keep their hands and feet inside.
* Tell children to hold on tightly with both hands. Solid metal lap bars and handholds
are part of the safety equipment. Teach your children to use them.
Always obey minimum height, age, weight, and health restrictions.
* Never sneak children onto rides they're too small or too young for.
* Ride manufacturers' restrictions take into account the forces exerted by the ride.
A smaller / younger child may not be physically or developmentally able to stay safely seated.
* Use the posted height and age limits. Manufacturers base their guidelines on developmental timelines and height/weight ratios of children in the 50th percentile. Kids who are tall for their age
may not be developmentally ready for a particular ride.
* Don't put your child on a ride he's outgrown.
Maximum height and weight limits are just as important as minimum limits.
If you can't count on your child to stay seated with hands and feet inside, don't let him or her ride.
Don't put children on rides they're afraid of.
* When a child gets scared, their first impulse is to get away from whatever frightened them.
* When asked what they should do if they get scared while a ride is moving,
a class of 20 preschoolers answered "get off the ride". Children are hurt every year doing exactly that.
Follow any special instructions about seating order or loading.
* Seating rules are set for safety reasons. If you decide to ignore explicit instructions or reposition riders after the operator has seated your party, you may be endangering your children.
For example, in some rides, it's safer to seat small children away from open sides. Spinning rides sometimes require that smaller riders sit on the inside (closest to the center pole) to avoid being squished by bigger riders as the centrifugal force increases.
* Never seat your child on your lap, on an amusement ride. If the ride has restraints, that position could cause the bar or belt to put too much pressure on your child's small body. If the ride doesn't have restraints, the extra elevation provided by your lap may put your child in a position where an unexpected twist or turn could cause the child to slip out of your hands and out of the car.
Always use the safety equipment provided.
* Ride manufacturers provide seatbelts, lap bars, and other safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury.
* Do not rely on lap bars and ropes to restrain children. They're designed as "psychological barriers",
an incentive to stay seated. Unfortunately, parents understand psychology better than kids,
so Mom sees a "restraint" and her clever child sees "a piece of metal to climb under".
* Solid metal lap bars only fit closely against the largest passenger in the car, often leaving young children with room to slide around. If a lap bar doesn't fit closely, a fast-moving ride can cause a child to slip completely out from underneath the bar. Loose-fitting lap bars also allow young children to stand up on their own while a ride is moving
Watch all extremities - including feet if the ride has open sides.
* Excited children often stick hands, arms, feet or even their heads out the sides of amusement rides. Pay special attention as the ride slows to a stop. Children, who are in a rush to be the first one off, or in a hurry to get to the next ride, may try to exit while the ride is still moving.
Teach small children what to do if they get separated from you.
* Point out uniformed midway employees, so they know who's in charge of finding lost parents.
* Choose an obvious landmark as a meeting place, generally one of the ticket boxes.
Trust your gut - your parental responsibility.
* Parents often feel overly confident about putting their children on attended amusement rides, especially those operated by successful, well-respected corporations. Your children need your protection,
whether they're in your backyard or at Disneyland.
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