Theme parks are a popular way for families to have fun in Las Vegas. Many people believe that roller coasters and carnival rides are safe, since children are often allowed on these rides. Unfortunately, the opposite can be true. Thousands of people, including children, are injured on amusement park rides every year.

A recent tragedy at an amusement park in Kansas has made national news. A 10-year-old boy was killed when an unknown accident occurred on a water park slide and he suffered a neck injury. Two others who were on the ride with him suffered facial injuries. How dangerous, exactly, are the rides at water parks and other popular parks that thousands visit each year? Safety experts say that the rides at fixed locations are generally safer than those at temporary carnivals and fairs. It is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s responsibility to oversee the rides at these temporary parks, as well as to investigate injuries. However, the safety standards that are set by the agency are voluntary, rather than required.

People who are injured at amusement parks often suffer from soft-tissue injuries, sprains, strains, lacerations and fractures. Head and neck injuries are the most common, often resulting from a fall or from uncontrolled motion within an amusement park ride. Between 1990 and 2010, more than 92,000 children across the country went to emergency rooms for injuries that occurred on theme park rides. The exact circumstances that led to the boy’s death at the water park are still unclear. It would not be unreasonable to expect families to pursue legal action if a loved one was injured as a result of negligence on behalf of the park.

Source: USA Today, “Amusement park death highlights need for safety,” Rick Jervis and John Bacon, Aug. 9, 2016