|SPRINGFIELD This summer, when your kids are tugging at your shorts, eyeing the latest and greatest rollercoaster ride, take a minute to evaluate the risks.|
Every year, nationwide, an estimated 8,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms for injuries involving thrill rides at amusement parks and traveling carnivals. And, in an average year, three or four die.
Kiddie rides designed for ages four and under account for nearly a quarter of amusement park injuries to children. This category includes inflatable attractions such as bounces and slides. "Parents need to use their own judgment. Posted age and height requirements are minimal guidelines," Mandi Summers, co-coordinator, Safe Kids of Western Mass. headquartered at Baystate Children's Hospital, said.
"Follow the rules," Summers said. "If a ride operator tells you to keep your hands and feet inside the car, to hold the handrail or to remain seated, there's a good reason."
Portable carnival rides are subject to safety regulations enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Amusement park rides at a fixed location are not subject to federal safety standards. In Massachusetts, amusement parks are regulated by the State Department of Public Safety subject to state law.
"Parents and caregivers need to decide whether their children are capable of sitting properly on a ride and following the operator's instructions," Dr. Ronald Gross, chief, Trauma and Emergency Surgery Services, Baystate Medical Center, said
In addition, Safe Kids of Western Mass reminds parents:
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