How to Tell if Carnival Rides are Safe or Dangerous

In the fictitious comedy released last year “We’re the Millers,” part of the movie takes place inside a carnival, and we get to meet Scottie P (played by Mark L Young), an employee of the carnival. Scottie P is asked what he does for a living by parents of a girl before they head out on a date. To which he replies “I work for A&J Amusements, I’m rockin’ that Monkey Maze, know what I’m sayin? It’s like a horrifying death trap.. but for little kids.” While this is meant to be funny, it underscores a very serious issue centered around carnival safety. There doesn’t seem to be a season that goes by without hearing about someone being injured at a carnival. While some of these cannot be avoided, such as a child turning an ankle when running around a “Monkey Maze.” Others are very much avoidable if you pay attention to the environment.

Carnival RidesAccording to a Ken Martin, who has 20 years of experience inspecting carnival rides, the machines are well built, but the breakdown occurs — literally and figuratively — in how states inspect them. He goes on to say that some states enforce rules one way while others enforce another. Some states inspect carnival rides every time they are set up in a new location; others only inspect them once a year, and six states perform no inspections whatsoever, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This means that while few of us are qualified to inspect an attraction professionally; the responsibility is our own to perform preliminary checks before getting on the next ride. The following tips can aid in making sure your next ride and overall visit to the carnival will be a safe one

  1. Pay close attention to those on the ride and consider your health before getting on. You should be in good health to ride safely. You know your physical conditions and limitations better than anyone else. If you suspect that your health could be at risk for any reason, do not ride.
  2. Inspect all sides of the ride if accessible to look for anything that may not be operating correctly. If any parts seem to be shaky or rusted, this is certainly cause to pass on the attraction. Pay special attention if you are attending on the 1st day of the carnival in your town. Often these roving carnivals need to pack and set up in a hurry, sometimes in as little as 48 hours from closing down in one place and setting up in another.
  3. That quick turnaround can also play a role in another factor that may lead to unsafe riding conditions, operator fatigue. Many of these carnivals are open from late morning until close to midnight, making for long hours for the staff. A rigorous schedule coupled with the drain of constantly moving around can make the strongest and most attentive employees unfit to operate such heavy machinery. You’ll want to pay close attention to the ride operator for a couple rotations of the ride to get a feel for his or her level of engagement. Make sure he/she is checking all safety harnesses and the equipment itself before each run.
  4. You will also want to listen for anything that doesn’t sound quite right before boarding a ride. Chances are if it does not sound right, it likely isn’t and you should avoid riding. Some rides play loud music in conjunction with the ride. Be sure to get as close as safety permits to listen for anything out of the ordinary in the working parts of the attraction.
  5. If you are a person of extreme size (height or weight) you should pay close attention to all posted signs. If you have difficulty sitting in any seat properly then do not ride that ride and/or device. This goes for those who may be too small to ride the attraction. If you are near the restrictions on either side for height or weight, it may be best to sit that ride out.

If you are injured while attending one of these venues and feel as though it was due to the malfunction of equipment or negligence of an operator, you might want to seek out the opinion of a trusted attorney such as David Heil with experience in similar cases. In many instances, the initial consultation does not require any out of pocket expense, and you could be entitled to compensation.

About the author: 

The writer, Brian Levesque, is a blogger who specializes in personal injury topics: helping families to both stay safe and to know what to do if they should become injured while out having fun. If you wish to learn more about Brian you can visit on Google+.