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Amusement parks aren't always fun

As you begin to make your summer plans, you may think about visiting one or more of Georgia's amusement and theme parks. Spending a day or more at one could provide your whole family with lots of fun.

However, your trip could also end disastrously. Every year, thousands of people suffer injuries at these parks across the country. In fact, in 2016, no fewer than 30,000 people suffered injuries, most of which may have been preventable. A survey conducted by a children's hospital revealed that one out of every five parents fails to discuss park safety with their children.

Should you report that ride's operator?

Outside of mechanical and structural issues, the most important safety tool of any park ride is its operator. When it comes to parents reporting unsafe ride operators, researchers discovered the following:

  • Around 94 percent said they would report an operator who appeared to be on drugs or alcohol.
  • Approximately 69 percent said they would report an operator who failed to enforce the ride's safety rules.
  • Surprisingly, only 48 percent said they would report an operator for using his or her cell phone instead of paying attention to the ride.

Rides are not the only danger you and your family face at an amusement or theme park.

What else should you watch for while at the park?

Other safety measures you could employ to increase your and your family's safety at the park include the following:

  • Don't wear loose clothing or open-toed shoes such as flip-flops. The materials could catch in machinery and cause injury. 
  • Don't be afraid to say something if you think the operator isn't doing his or her job, or if you think something isn't right with the ride, such as frayed seat belts or improperly fastened harnesses.
  • Do talk to your kids about "stranger danger." Even teenagers could use a reminder since you never know who else is at the park or what their intentions are toward your children.
  • Do follow the park's rules, especially when it comes to height and health requirements for a ride. They exist to keep you and your children safe.
  • Do stay in contact with your children, and devise a plan and place to meet if you are separated either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Even through the excitement, large numbers of people and other distractions, keep a look out for potential hazards and dangers regardless of from where or from whom they could come.

Amusement and theme parks may bear legal liability in certain situations for failing to keep you safe, but you would probably prefer not to suffer an injury at all. However, if it does happen despite your efforts, you may have a legal avenue for pursuing compensation in a Georgia civil court.

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