A trip to an amusement park is always a joyful ride! This is one time when parents and children are equally excited and can’t wait to dive into the thrills of the place. However, this is only one side of the story, for there have been many thousands of children who get hurt, injured and even die by not practicing safety at the park. So, before you hop on to next roller coaster be sure that:
- You and your family get a medical check-up done: This is very important if you haven’t had a check up in the last year. Undiagnosed illnesses like high blood pressure, neck or back pains can prove dangerous when on a ride.
- Your children are introduced to rides first: It only makes sense that you tell your child about the ride, so she can decide if she wants to ride it or not. Read the description of the ride and explain in simpler terms, if she doesn’t understand.
- You do not leave your kids unattended: “Wait right here ‘till I get back” should never come out of your mouth in an amusement park. It is dangerous and even fatal to leave kids alone in a park. They might accidentally come too close to a ride and get hurt.
- You introduce your child to park security: Do not assume that your child ‘knows’ what the security attendants look like. It is easy to get confused in a place full of people. Let your child meet one or two of them. Describe their uniform and other identifiable things like cap, a name plaque, etc. Instruct your child to seek such a person in case you both get separated. Also, the ‘stranger danger’ lecture should have been given before coming to the park.
- You instruct your child about what to do in case she gets lost: Don’t assume that you will never lose your child in an amusement park. Kids as well as adults get easily distracted by giant rides and before they know it, they have lost each other. As a parent, keep your child prepared for such an emergency. Decide on a place where you both will meet in case such a situation arises. Do not just point to a place and say ‘meet me over there’, instead walk your little one towards a place which is visible and easily accessible, and give a detailed instruction like, “In case we get separated, do not worry. Walk towards this large board and wait for me under it.” Also, ask your child to take the help of a park employee and not any stranger. For no reason at all, should your child leave the premises without you.
- You act as you would want your child to act: Your children learn from you and therefore, you must behave in the way you would want them to behave. So, do not get on a ride without reading the instructions, do not force any of your kids or family members to ‘try’ a ride. Most of the accidents happen when scared children try to get off a moving ride.
- You don’t cheat: If you or your children do not fit into the ‘age’ or ‘height’ range, do not cheat your way through by giving the wrong information. The rules are for your safety and if not heeded, will become the cause of your own distress.
- You ask the right questions: If your child is going to a field trip along with his class, ask all the important questions before you sign the permission form. How many kids are going, what is the adult to child ratio, what safety precautions are being taken, will a medical practitioner be available, how have they planned in case a child gets lost?
- You prepare well for the trip: Many people, in the excitement of visiting a theme or amusement park, forget that they should be well prepared. Since, you are going to be out in the sun for longer periods of time, you must be hydrated. Children can get skin burns, rashes, as well as becoming exhausted from being in the sun for too long. Therefore, keep on drinking water at least 4 days before the trip, apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and reapply every few hours. You can also use caps, sunglasses as well as umbrellas for your own comfort.
- You keep a watch on what you and your kids eat: I know it’s really hard to keep a track on what you eat and honestly, saying ‘no’ just doesn’t seem right while on a trip. But make sure that your kids do not eat sugary things before going on a ride. This may throw cold water (and something else) on your enthusiasm.
What amusement parks have you been too? What have you done to ensure the little ones are safe? Have you had any experiences you’d like to share that others could learn from? Share with us your experiences and stories in the comments below;