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Stay safe on amusement park rides

You may think that having a stomach of steel is all you need to survive a roller coaster, but there have been eight deaths from brain trauma since 1992 associated with amusement park rides. For some, a day at the amusement park turned out to be anything but amusing.

Strapped in tight or not, you could be at risk of injury when you board one of the nations more than 570 roller coasters or other amusement park rides. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, most injuries are caused by patron error, such as attempting to loosen the restraint bar, not by ride-assembly errors.

A ride doesn't have to be broken for injuries to occur. The attraction can be working properly and still harm you. Don't let adrenaline blind you to some simple safety precautions that can save your life.

  • Observe all posted rules and follow the verbal instructions given by ride operators. Just because you see pictures of people sticking their hands in the air does not mean it's safe.
  • Explain to children the reasons for height/weight restrictions. For example, if a child is too small, safety restraints may not fit, or if a child is too big, they could overload the ride.
  • Dress comfortably, avoid open-toed shoes and dangling clothing or jewelry, and tie back loose hair.
  • Don't overeat or consume excessive alcohol or drugs prior to riding.
  • Stop if you're excessively tired or don't feel well.
  • Dont board a ride if you see obviously broken parts, signs of poor maintenance, or an inattentive operator. If something about a ride seems out of whack, don't ride it.
  • When going on rides with a high G force, you should be in normal to good health and not have any of the customary medical concerns, like being pregnant, having had broken bones within the last year, or having heart or respiratory problems.
  • If something does go wrong while you're on a ride, stay calm, don't panic, and follow the instructions given by park employees — they are prepared for emergency situations and want to help you exit the ride safely.
Sources: www.saferparks.org, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions

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