A new report has found that amusement park, fair, restaurant, and mall rides harm more than 4,400 children in the United States each year.
The report reviewed report data from 1990 to 2010 for about 93,000i injuries treated in 100 hospital emergency room departments nationwide. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) collected the data and reports included diagnoses information and details on how the injuries occurred, said The Huffington Post. The reports concerned accidents involving children age 17 and younger who suffered ride-related injuries, with most having occurred during spring and summer months. The study was published in the journal, Clinical Pediatrics.
“Most previous studies have focused on larger rides, like roller coasters,” said study author, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, according to The Huffington Post. “We thought the topic deserved a much broader look. As far as we know, no one else has looked at rides in shopping malls and restaurants.”
The study found that more than 30 percent of the injuries had to do with falls; more than half involved children under the age of five, said The Huffington Post. About 18 percent of the accidents involved a child who was hit by something or whose body was hit by the ride and he remaining accidents either involved a child being caught on a ride or being injured while embarking/disembarking the ride.
About 1.5 percent of children injured required hospital admittance. Most injuries were to the head and neck, and soft tissue damage was the most common injury; strains, sprains, fractures, and concussions were also seen, said The Huffington Post. “On average, there’s a child treated in a hospital emergency department every two hours. So they are common, but also generally not severe,” Smith noted. Significant ride malfunction was cited in 3.5 percent of the cases and fixed, amusement park rides were the greatest culprit, but rides at fairs, malls, and restaurants certainly contributed to the injury pool, The Huffington Post noted.
“Injuries from smaller amusement rides located in malls, stores, restaurants and arcades are typically given less attention by legal and public health professionals than injuries from larger amusement park rides, yet our study showed that in the U.S. a child is treated in an emergency department, on average, every day for an injury from an amusement ride located in a mall, store, restaurant or arcade,” Smith, who is also a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, said in a press release. “We need to raise awareness of this issue and determine the best way to prevent injuries from these types of rides,” he added, said CBS News.
Regulation is not the same across the board, CBS News noted. For instance, CPSC has oversight for portable carnival rides, while fixed amusement park rides are subject to state and local governments, with rules varying from place to place and with no federal oversight, said The Huffington Post. “A coordinated national system would help us prevent amusement ride-related injuries through better injury surveillance and more consistent enforcement of standards,” said Smith, wrote CBS News.
Late last year, Smith’s team released a study that reviewed the increase in bounce house-related injuries. Inflatable bounce houses. Prior to that, a study published in the journal, Pediatrics warned about dangerous injuries associated with trampolines, said CBS News.