The danger of amusement rides - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

The danger of amusement rides

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They're supposed to be scary or intimidating in a good way. But for more than 4,000 American children every year, thrill rides can prove dangerous. Just ask Crystal Malone. A few years ago, her eight-year-old daughter took a ride on a kid's roller coaster, only to end up in the hospital with a broken arm.

"She had reached back to high-five one of her nieces. And when she brought her arm back, her wrist got caught in one of the corners of the ride," Malone explains.

Now a new study is showing just how common injuries like that can be. Between 1990- 2010, nearly 93,000 children were treated at emergency departments for amusement ride injuries. About a third of those treated were 5-years-old or younger. Falling was the most common cause of injury.

But it's not always the biggest, fastest rides to blame.

Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children's Hospital led the study. He explains, "When we talk about amusement park rides, we often think immediately of the roller coasters and the large rides. But in this study we found a surprising number of injuries were occurring at local shopping malls, restaurants, and arcades,"

Many injuries happen at permanent sites. Mobile rides, like those at fairs or carnivals, are regulated by federal guidelines. But fixed rides are not, at places like amusement parks or malls. Those are regulated by local & state government, and enforcement of safety standards can vary widely.

"It becomes very difficult to effectively regulate & prevent these injuries or even know how many injuries are occurring," continues Dr. Smith.

He suggests consistent regulation of all amusement rides to protect more children in the future.

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