Now that summertime is here, many families in North Carolina are planning vacations with their kids. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, it is extremely important to take into account safety issues that may arise at your vacation destination.
Although most of us do not like to think about the inherent dangers of a day at the beach or a visit to an amusement park, these popular destinations contain hazards that can lead to serious injuries. Particularly if you and your family are visiting a theme park this summer, you need to be aware of amusement park safety measures to keep your kids out of harm’s way.
Tragedy Strikes at Disney
Who is at fault when a child gets hurt at an amusement park or theme park? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, the tragic story about a 2-year-old boy’s death at a Disney resort is a reminder that there are dangers that might impact our kids just about anywhere. In this case, the toddler was snatched by an alligator while he was with his family members at Disney World.
Certainly, no one who visits Disney World with their kids anticipates an alligator attack. Although these animals are common in Florida, many commentators have begun questioning whether Disney took the proper steps to warn unsuspecting tourists and keep alligators away from the resort.
The recent amusement park fatality in Orlando is a devastating one. And the incident should encourage parents to be aware of hidden dangers on vacation and take steps to stay safe at amusement parks this summer.
Summer Safety Tips for Visiting Amusement Parks
One of the primary obstacles that parents need to overcome in determining safety risks is that amusement parks in the U.S. often are not transparent when it comes to injury hazards, according to an article in the New York Daily News. That’s because amusement parks do not fall under federal regulations, so there is no central reporting system for incidents. Add to that the fact that many injury cases are settled confidentially, so the public rarely hears about safety concerns.
However, according to a report from EHS Today, an occupational safety and health magazine, there are ways to keep your kids safer when you visit amusement parks. Some significant tips for having fun while staying injury-free include:
- Follow the park’s safety rules. Many rides have their own safety rules, and it is important for you to follow them. This is particularly true on dangerous rides such as rollercoasters. If the park says your child is too small to ride a rollercoaster, listen to that safety advice. If you do not think the safety restraints on a ride are properly fitted to your body type, do not ride the ride. Most importantly, stay seated and do not stand up before a ride comes to a stop. This is a safety rule that, if not followed, can result in a catastrophic injury.
- Know your and your child’s health issues and limitations. If you or your child has a health condition or an injury (such as a back problem or a heart condition) that could be worsened by a ride at an amusement park, simply do not ride. At amusement parks, there are often warning signs about risks for visitors with underlying conditions. It is extremely important to heed these warnings and to think carefully about your own physical limitations.
- Avoid restricted areas. If an area of a theme park is blocked off or restricted, do not let your child enter that area. There are many reasons that an amusement park will close off a particular area, and it often has to do with dangers to the public. If your child attempts to climb a fence or to move beyond a barricade, he or she could be risking a serious injury. If you or your child lose a personal belonging (for instance, if your cellphone falls into a restricted area), do not attempt to retrieve it yourself. Instead, contact an amusement park employee to retrieve it.
- Watch where you and your children are going. In the summer in particular, amusement parks can get very crowded. It can be easy to lose a child in a crowd, or for your child to get knocked over by someone who is not paying attention. In addition, big crowds typically mean litter and lost items on the ground, which could pose a tripping hazard.
- Report dangers or problems to amusement park staff. If you see a problem at a park — anything ranging from a person who is not following safety rules to a broken safety harness on a rollercoaster — alert an amusement park employee. Your observation can help keep your own family safe, and it can also help other families to avoid preventable accidents.
- Be aware of the hazards of being in the sun for too long. Although you may not be thinking about the risks of sunburn and dehydration while you are walking around the grounds of an amusement park in the summer, the sun can wreak a lot of havoc on the body in a short amount of time. It’s important to ensure that your kids wear waterproof sunscreen and reapply it throughout the day as necessary to avoid a harmful sunburn. Also, be sure that you and your kids are sufficiently hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke. You should avoid drinking anything too quickly, and you should stick with water. Relying on drinks with sugar additives can only dehydrate your children.
North Carolina Family Lawyers Committed to Keeping Kids Safe
At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, we are committed to helping families in Raleigh stay safe this summer while they enjoy their vacations. We want to ensure that you recognize amusement park safety concerns and pay attention to summer travel safety tips to keep your family happy and healthy.
If you have questions about family law in North Carolina, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced Raleigh family lawyers. Our advocates are here to assist you. Contact us today for more information about our services.