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Ride Safety - do you get nervous when putting your DC on rides?

(6 Posts)
Lonz Thu 04-Jun-15 12:31:26

After the horrible accident at Alton Towers, it has actually made me think about rides my son will go on in the future. It must be so heartbreaking for the parents of the people involved, especially after hearing that one has now lost a leg.

I was away at the weekend, and even though I was excited for my son to go on some rides at the park, I was also nervous about what he could go on. I went on a little toddler's coaster with him (after my mum already paid) but held on to him all the way round and made sure the guy had actually shut down the safety bar properly (the safety bar came out when I was on a ride as a kid!)

I'm worried that if he ever one day goes on a trip with friends to a theme park, he'll be egged on by them to go on a ride he doesn't wish to and get called a 'wimp'. I know accidents happen and you can't protect them from everything but I can't help thinking that they shouldn't have even had a 'test' carriage out whilst at the same time a carriage full of passengers! The Smiler should have been shut down ages ago! Who would even go on it now?

Like you see kids on adult rides around the age of 9/10 years old just because they're tall enough, but you watch as they go round looking petrified. I can't bear it.

I feel like that I would only be happy if he went on little rides that just go round in a circle until he is atleast 30 years old!
Is it just me?

geekymommy Thu 04-Jun-15 15:35:58

I found one site that said that an average of 11,500 people go to Alton Towers every day. Four people were seriously injured in the incident on Tuesday. That's one chance in 2875 of being injured that day (assuming the number of visitors was about average that day).

In the UK, there are about 28,500 people seriously injured or killed in car accidents every year (as of 2008). The total population is 64 million, and I'd guess that most people in the UK do encounter motor vehicles and are at risk for injuries from them. That means you've got about a 1 in 2245 chance of being seriously injured in a car accident in any given year. He's got a better chance of being injured in a car accident than on a ride at Alton Towers.

That estimate assumes that an accident like the one that happened Tuesday happens every day at Alton Towers. It doesn't. I'm in the US and not familiar with Alton Towers, so I'll assume they're open for half of the year. That would mean they get about 2 million visitors per year. Assume this is the only incident with serious injuries this year (per Wikipedia, this seems reasonable). 2 million visitors divided by 4 serious injuries- that's 1 chance in 500,000 of a serious injury. You've got a much, much better chance of being injured in a car accident. It's more than 200 times as likely that you'll be injured in a car accident.

That said, the rides at an amusement park do feel riskier than riding in a car. Part of that is that an accident at an amusement park with serious injuries is national news, while four people being killed or seriously injured in car accidents wouldn't be. In fact, about 78 people are killed or seriously injured in car accidents in the UK every day on average.

I recently took my toddler for her first carousel ride. I know carousels aren't particularly dangerous, but I was nervous about it. I know I was probably being irrational about the actual risk, but humans do that. We're lousy at estimating actual risks. This is why so many people are more afraid of flying than of driving, even though flying is safer.

Notso Thu 04-Jun-15 16:02:47

I've never felt nervous about my DC going on rides at Alton Towers. We have been many times.
My DC love it there and I've always found the staff to be vigilant with regard to safety.
Tuesdays accident was awful and although it's made me think that I probably will not ride the smiler my older two were adamant they still would.

We did recently visit a different theme park and found our tall 4 year old was tall enough to ride some very large steep slide type rides.
One DS got to the top then changed his mind.
On another he went up with our DD (15) and we assumed he would ride with her, however the man at the top said he couldn't and sent him down alone. He let go of the toboggan thing half way down as his top flew into his face and it looked like he was going to fall off.
It was terrifying to watch, DD was upset that she let him go down. I felt awful that I hadn't noticed it was single riders only. He obviously wasn't mature enough for it despite being tall enough.

Worryingly I know several parents who put wedges into their younger children's wellingtons to boost their height and get them onto rides, I hope the accident has made them think twice about this.
Also one of the couples lie to their 5 year old son and tell him the ride has changed to get him to agree to go on as he doesn't like them.

Floralnomad Thu 04-Jun-15 16:09:36

I've never been that concerned about ride safety ,statistically it's very safe , when DS (22) was 3/4 we used to spend a couple of days a week at Thorpe Park and Chessington , I remember one occasion when we stayed on the Flying Fish for 14 goes in a row because there was no one else riding it .

geekymommy Thu 04-Jun-15 16:47:20

Worryingly I know several parents who put wedges into their younger children's wellingtons to boost their height and get them onto rides, I hope the accident has made them think twice about this.

Amusement park rides are probably quite safe, especially if you're not being an idiot. The safety rules are there for a reason, not just to keep you from having fun, don't try to get around them. You're being an idiot if you try to get around safety rules like height restrictions.

If you're lying to your five year old about rides to get him to go on them... I have no words for what you are. If I did, they wouldn't be nice ones.

Lonz Mon 08-Jun-15 21:31:51

I guess I just have to get over the fact that it's not likely to happen and is a rare incident.
What parent puts wedges in their kids shoes to allow them to get on a ride that is obviously not suitable for them let alone tell them the ride has changed so they'll get on it? What do they get out of putting their kid on a ride they don't want to? o.O
Strange people.

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