It’s summertime in California, and for kids that means school’s out and it’s time to play. For some young thrill-seekers, a trip to an amusement park like Disneyland, Six Flags or even the county fair can be the highlight of a fun-filled summer. But once in a while the thrills turn to spills and a child is hurt on a ride.
According to a study published last year in the journal Pediatrics, almost 93,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms between 1990 and 2010 due to injuries suffered on rides, with the largest proportion of those injuries occurring during the summer months.
More than one-third of the ride injuries in the study occurred on “fixed-location” rides at amusement parks and theme parks, while a slightly smaller number involved rides at temporary sites like fairs and carnivals. Another 12 percent occurred at locations like malls, arcades and restaurants, where the rides are often smaller and may not seem to pose an obvious safety threat. At those locations, the injuries most often involved involved young children falling on, into, from or against the ride.
When a ride injury occurs, the amusement park, mall or other establishment where the ride is located may be responsible for the child’s medical costs, rehabilitative care and other expenses according to a legal principle known as premises liability.
Put simply, premises liability means that businesses and property owners owe a legal duty to keep visitors safe — especially young children, who are typically more vulnerable than adults. When a business fails to keep its premises safe and someone is hurt as a result, it can be held legally and financially responsible for the resulting damages.
Source: USA Today, “Amusement-ride injuries can happen on ‘mall rides’ too,” Michelle Healy, May 1, 2013.