When Autumn arrives, family recreation turns to popular seasonal traditions like pumpkin picking and fall fairs, where kiddie rides, hay rides, corn mazes, sleigh rides and the like are a big part of the fun. Farms and small venues often offer rides with an old-world or homemade appeal. These rides and their operators must still meet industry standards of care for safety. Amusement Ride Safety expert Dan Doyle explores the standards and best practices that apply to kiddie rides and seasonal amusement attractions.
Seasonal Kiddie Ride Safety - Expert Article
Many small venues take advantage of the interest in the Fall seasonal market for pumpkin and fruit/vegetable picking, and provide additional attractions for their customers’ enjoyment. A ride on a kiddie train or in the back of an open hay wagon might be a youngster’s very first experience on an amusement attraction. Regardless of the venue offering the ride, it should meet industry standards of care regarding proper operation and safety of passengers. Many operators purchase ready-made rides that were manufactured according to industry standards, with common safety features designed into the ride, including but not limited to the following:
- Safety restraints in non-enclosed vehicles;
- Perimeter fencing around moving platforms or tracks;
- Clear signage with instructions, restrictions or warnings for patrons;
- Documentation of inspections.
Some operators fabricate their own version of rides. These can vary greatly in design and construction methods and materials. Most hand-made rides are simple devices intended for the amusement of small children, and likely will not reach a speed faster than a brisk walk. Basic rides may accommodate an individual child, while family rides are designed so the parent or a supervising companion can ride with the child.
Regardless of the size of the amusement device or the manufacturer, each type of ride is meant to carry passengers and should do so in a reasonably safe manner. The owner/operator bears the responsibility of ensuring that the ride or attraction they offer to the public meets the industry standard of care. A purchased, ready-made ride should be operated according to the manufacturer’s requirements. A hand-made ride should be fabricated in such a manner as to provide safe operation.
The parent or guardian also has a role in rider safety and should do the following to help prevent injury:
- Ensure that the child meets any posted restrictions regarding age, height and weight.
- Follow all written and verbal safety instructions for the ride.
- Always wear the supplied seat restraints
- Keep hands, arms, feet and legs inside the vehicle at all times.
- Remain seated for the duration of the ride.
- Don’t force a child onto any amusement device.
Safety awareness contributes to many happy childhood memories at seasonal fairs across the country, whether at an established, permanent venue, or a local “mom and pop” set up.
Amusement Ride Investigations
The amusement park experts at Robson Forensic investigate a broad range of issues involving operational procedures as well as the inspection and maintenance of equipment and machinery at fairs, carnivals, and other amusement facilities.
Contact the author of this article or submit an inquiry to determine which of our experts is best suited to address the technical aspects specific to your case.
Amusement Park Safety Expert
Dan has over 20 years of professional experience in the inspection and maintenance of amusement park rides. He applies his expertise to forensic investigations involving all aspects of amusement park rides: construction, operation and maintenance, fencing, surface conditions, and safety standards. Dan has extensive hands-on experience in all aspects of amusement park safety, including conducting safety audits at amusement parks across the US. He’s a member of the ASTM F24 Committee on Amusement Rides and Devices and holds several industry related certifications.