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Summer 2016 a bad year for amusement park attractions

It's been a bad summer for amusement park rides. The latest in a string of serious or fatal mishaps involving carnival and amusement park activities occurred at an East Coast amusement park earlier this week when six riders received an electric shock while riding the Scrambler.

While all six appear to have suffered only minor injuries, the local deputy police chief reported that all rides at Ocean Beach Park were temporarily closed as a precaution.

This most recent incident at an amusement park followed closely on the heels of other high-profile accidents that took place in recent days and weeks. Only five days prior, a 3-year-old boy had to be airlifted to a hospital from Ligonier, Pennsylvania's SoakZone and Idlewild after he slipped out of the park's wooden roller coaster and was injured.

Three days before the boy was hurt on the roller coaster, a trio of kids were hurt when a mechanical glitch dumped them out of a Ferris wheel gondola at the Greene County Fair in Tennessee. Two of the three suffered critical injuries in the fall, with one 6-year-old still in serious condition with a traumatic brain injury a week after the accident occurred.

But the worst accident of all occurred in Kansas City, Kansas, on the Verrückt water slide at the Schlitterbahn Water Park on Aug. 7. A 10-year-old boy, the son of a Kansas state representative, was decapitated in a grisly accident after flying off of the raft and into the netting material that enclosed the top. Investigators are continuing their efforts to determine whether or not the raft's harness system — which consisted of Velcro straps with no locking mechanism — was not working at the time of the fatal accident.

With all these incidents all over the media, it's fair to question whether amusement park rides are actually safe for parents to allow their children to ride. While obviously some rides are riskier than others, on average, 4,423 injuries occur annually on amusement park rides, and most of those are to children.

During the parks' busy season from May to the end of September, one study estimated there were 20 injuries per day. Injuries to the spinal column, neck, head and extremities were the most serious. If your child got hurt on an amusement park ride, you made need to file civil litigation in order to recover financial compensation.

Source: CNN, "Six get electric shock on Connecticut amusement park ride," Lauren del Vallee, Aug. 17, 2016

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