Childproof Your Summer: Amusement-Park Rides
Keep your kids safe without spoiling summer fun:
12. Check the rides. You might assume that theme-park rides are held to high federal safety standards. In fact, the federal government regulates only carnival rides that travel from place to place, leaving amusement-park safety to the states.
"The current law allows for the recall of an unsafe crib but doesn't allow for the regulation of a ride carrying children at 125 miles per hour, which is absurd," says Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. After several deaths in recent years at reputable parks like Disney World and Knott's Berry Farm, Markey sponsored legislation, introduced in May, that would create federal oversight at all amusement parks.
Meantime, kids should be securely strapped in with both feet on the floor. Safety experts contend that one reason for injuries is that manufacturers of roller coasters and spinning rides typically design the seats and safety restraints with the expectation that kids will sit still, hold on properly, and behaveand that often doesn't happen, especially when the rides are in the dark. Ideally, a parent should be riding, too.
You should also gauge the ride's fear factor. "If I'd known it would be scary, I never would have let my son go on by himself," says Elayne Cassara, who two years ago watched in horror as Jon-Kely, 7, failed to emerge from the Ye Old Mill boat ride tunnel at Rye Playland in Westchester, N.Y. He died after jumping off the boat and getting caught by an underwater conveyor belt, probably scared by the creatures that popped out in the dark.
The park has since added signs and a talking gnome outside the ride to inform parents about potential frights. And New York State last year passed tougher safety laws.
Other ways to childproof your summer:
1. Wakeboarding • 2. Trampolines • 3. Sunscreen • 4. Drowning • 5. Internet Safety • 6. Exercise• 7. Vaccines • 8. Bug Spray • 9. All-Terrain Vehicles • 10. Medications at Camp • 11. Hydration • 12. Amusement-Park Rides