Theme parks are supposed to be places you go for a fun, safe adrenaline rush, so it’s always tragic when a guest is injured. The truth, however, is that nearly all theme park injuries are preventable if guests follow proper safety practices. Here are ten of the best tips for staying safe at any theme park.
1. Mind the Heat
It’s easy to fall prey to dehydration or heat stroke if you don’t take the summer heat seriously. Drink plenty of water–and go light on alcoholic drinks, which dehydrate you–and don’t hesitate to step into the shade if the sun is getting to you. Speaking of the sun, you should also remember to apply plenty of sunscreen. When you’re in a roller coaster line for an hour, you can get sunburned quickly.
2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Another mistake many theme park guests make is paying insufficient attention to where they’re going and what’s around them. Collisions, many of which involve strollers or mobility scooters, are a common source of theme park injuries. Stay aware of your surroundings, avoid reckless behavior and don’t sprint from one ride to the next.
3. Stay Out of Restricted Areas
Areas marked ‘Restricted’ or ‘Employees Only’ are often unsafe for guests. Many people are injured because they hop fences on a dare or try to get under roller coaster tracks to retrieve fallen belongings. If your hat, watch or phone falls beneath a roller coaster, ask a park employee for help and don’t try to retrieve it yourself.
4. Obey Safety Restrictions
If an attraction has height, weight or health-related restrictions, it’s important that you read these before getting on the ride. Many rides, especially those that run at high speeds, can be dangerous for riders who are overweight or riders above or below a certain height. Even if you only miss a cutoff by a few inches or a few pounds, don’t take the risk.
5. Know Your Medical History
Some rides can be particularly dangerous for people with certain health conditions, which is why it’s important to know your own medical history if you plan on enjoying a few thrill rides. High blood pressure, heart disease and pregnancy are several common reasons a guest may need to avoid a particular ride.
6. Don’t Cheat the Rules
Believe it or not, some guests actually try to appear taller or older than they really are in order to be let onto a ride. Not only is ‘cheating’ in this way dangerous, but it can also get you kicked out of the park.
7. Stay Seated
If a ride is equipped with a safety bar or other form of restraint, it’s because standing up is likely to get you hurt. Many high-profile theme parks have had to deal with horrific injuries or even fatalities because a guest stood up during a ride to try and get an extra thrill.
8. Watch Your Head
High-speed coasters often whip your head around, which can cause headaches or even severe head injuries if you don’t keep your balance. For your safety, sit in the middle of your seat with your back straight during rides like these and don’t let yourself slouch to one side.
9. Give Kids a Hand
Not only should you keep an eye on your own kids, but you should also help out any potentially lost children you see. It’s easy for kids to get separated from their parents in a crowded theme park, and certain areas of the park can be hazardous to children, so don’t leave your kids or anyone else’s alone.
10. If You See Something, Say Something
If you notice any issue during your visit–be it a lost child, a broken safety restraint or an injured guest–alert park staff right away. Attempting to help on your own might be admirable, but it’s more likely to create an even bigger problem, and ignoring an issue because it’s not your business is even worse.