When parents fish for loose change during a trip to the mall so their kid can ride in a mechanical pony or car, the last thing on their minds may be that the seemingly innocent machine can put their child at risk for a major injury. However, a recent study that tracked child injuries on rides found kids who use “mall rides” may face a higher risk of head, neck or face injuries or concussions. Read more from CBS News.
The study, released in the May issue of the Journal Clinical Pediatrics, looked at 20 years of data on children involved in accidents from various amusement park and similar types of rides. The research shows that, on average, 4400 children seek medical attention every year for injuries sustained on rides. A vast majority of these child injuries occurred during summer months. More than 70 percent of the total yearly injuries occurred between May and September, a percentage that works out to more than 20 injuries per day, or one every two hours. This is no surprise as festivals, carnivals, and amusement parks are primarily open during warmer months.
Out of the approximately 93,000 cases the study reviewed, researchers found that 29 percent of the cases involve some kind of soft tissue injury, while strains and sprains accounted for 21 percent. 20 percent of the children had cuts, while another 10 percent suffered broken bones.
The researchers also looked at the differences between rides found in malls versus rides found in amusement parks or carnivals. While about 33 percent of the cases studied involved accident sustained at amusement parks, 12 percent involved rides located in malls or other similar locations. Almost 75 percent of the children injured in mall ride accidents were hurt when they were trying to get on or off the ride. Also, children on such rides were more likely to sustain damage to their head, neck, or face. They also had a higher rate of concussions and closed head injuries. The study’s authors say that this is likely due to the fact that very young children, who often ride mall rides, have higher centers of gravity and are more likely to fall over head first.
TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE
The Center of Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital suggests these tips for keeping your child safe on amusement rides:
¢ Always follow all posted height, age, weight and health restrictions.
¢ Follow special seating order and/or loading instructions.
¢ Always use safety equipment such as seat belts and safety bars.
¢ Keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
¢ Know your child. If you don’t think he/she will be able to follow the rules, keep him/her off the ride.
¢Trust your instincts. If you are worried about the safety of the ride, choose a different activity.
¢ Avoid “mall rides” if they are on hard, unpadded surfaces or if they don’t have a child restraint such as a seat belt.