By Michigan LARA
The more than 40 million people who will travel Michigan to enjoy carnival and amusement rides this summer season are urged to make safety a top priority, especially with the kids.
“Carnival rides in Michigan are held to the highest safety standards to keep riders safe,” said LARA’s Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Director Julia Dale. “We ask all ride patrons to do their part by following ride rules and restrictions and using all the safety equipment provided.”
LARA works to make Michigan a leader in ride safety, inspection, and registration of amusement rides to ensure compliance with Michigan’s rules and regulations that protect citizens of all ages while riding.
Most amusement ride injuries are suffered by children under age 13 according to national data compiled by the Saferparks organization. Kids between the ages of 7 and 12 account for nearly
a third of all ride accidents. The speeds, heights, rapid changes in direction, and special effects can overwhelm and panic a child.
Dale emphasized that all amusement rides, including “kiddie rides,” are powerful machines. Although most full-sized rides are designed for adults and teens, there has been an increasing emphasis on the safety and retention of children on adult rides. Many Ferris wheels have had seat belts added to them to help keep kids in their seats. Catastrophic accidents are often the result of rider inexperience, immaturity, and horseplay on such large machines.
“Choose cautiously what rides you and your family can enjoy safely,” said Dale. “Use good judgment when deciding if your child can safely ride alone. Watch the ride with your kids before boarding, or ride along with them.”
Here are a few safety tips on what you and the kids need to know before you go:
- Know the rules of the ride; listen to verbal or recorded instructions.
- Observe all age, height, and weight restrictions. Know the safest riding position for the kids.
- Never seat a child on your lap, unless ride operators indicate it’s safe to do so.
- Securely latch seat belts, shoulder harness, and lap bars before the ride begins. Hold on to handrails; use grab bars.
- Keep hands, arms, legs, and feet inside the ride at all times. Do not ride with hands in the air. Secure loose hair, clothing, and belongings. Never stand up on a ride.
- Stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop and you are instructed to exit.
- Patrons with heart conditions, pregnancy, or back/neck injuries should heed any warning signs posted.
- Report any unsafe behavior or conditions on a ride to a ride supervisor or manager immediately.
- Report injuries to a ride supervisor. They will assist the injured and report the injury to LARA.
If Michigan consumers have questions regarding a ride’s license or inspection, they can contact CSCL at 517-241-9273. Consumers can file a complaint by visiting CSCL’s complaint resource page here.
LARA’s Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) licenses more than
900 amusement rides including water slides and go-karts, carnival rides, and roller coasters.
LARA inspects amusement rides annually; however, operators are required to conduct daily inspections before operation according to manufacturer criteria, national standards, and state
law. Michigan has one of the oldest amusement ride safety programs in the country, protecting consumers for 50 years; the first inspection was done in 1967.
Ten injuries were reported to LARA last year, compared to the estimated 50 million to 100 million rides taken in Michigan each year. The majority of amusement ride injuries result from the riders themselves and are preventable. Approximately 200 ride injuries have been reported to LARA over a 10-year period; the majority caused by the riders’ actions, and the remainder caused by ride operators, failures of the equipment, or a combination of both.
Be aware that inflatable “bounce houses,” bungee jumps, and climbing walls are not regulated in Michigan. Users of these devices should follow the same recommendations and be especially alert to the conditions of the device and the attentiveness of the operators.
For more information on amusement ride safety for kids and adults go to:
- Michigan Amusement Safety
- Saferparks, “Kids Club”
- Disney, “Wild About Safety”
- SaferParks, Sharing Information for Safety Amusement Ride Thrills
- CARES (Council for Amusement and Recreational Equipment Safety)