More children are injured by inflatables such as bouncy castles than mechanical amusement rides, finds a study by
You see them at birthday parties, indoor playgrounds or school fairs -bouncy castles - and kids love playing on them. A new study by
"In amusement parks, roller coasters, Ferris wheels and other mechanically operated amusement rides are designed to keep people safe," says
The risk of getting injured on amusement rides is very low. According to a report by the U.S.-based
However, Woodcock, who studies amusement ride design and engineering and is director of the THRILL lab (Tools for Holistic Ride Inspection Learning and Leadership), says amusement ride injuries is an area that has not been well researched. Furthermore, studying accident patterns on amusement rides is hindered by lack of detail in publicly collected data. "In order to prevent injuries on rides, we need to know how these injury events are happening and on which rides."
Since there aren't any national reporting regulations for amusement ride injuries in
Woodcock found that inflatable bounces accounted for 42 per cent of amusement injuries in all age groups, with over half of the injuries in children aged 15 years and under. The study also found that 20 per cent injuries were from roller coasters, followed by carousels (three per cent) and bumper cars (three per cent). Girls and women reported over half of the injuries; only for children age five and under did boys outnumber girls. One third of the injuries reported did not specify the particular ride. The researcher cautions that this large gap in data makes it difficult for researchers to gain a more accurate injury rate on specific rides.
So what does this mean for parents? Woodcock urges them to use caution when their children go on rides, and not let their guard down for inflatables. "In Ontario, amusement operators - big and small - are regulated by the
As for operators, Woodcock looks forward to more pooling of injury report data. "Injuries in this industry are pretty rare, and patterns are not going to be easy to find within business volumes of any but the largest operators. We are going to have to find a way to share data that doesn't create administrative headaches for the operator, but does collect information that researchers can interpret and feed back to them."
To that end, Woodcock is developing tools to help operators collect information from guests and make it easier for operators to share their data.
The study, Amusement Ride Injury Data in
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