Health + Safety

Report: Amusement Rides Hurt 4,400 Kids a Year, Most Not Serious

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roller coaster ride

Roller-coasters, carnivals and kiddie rides may be a staple of summer fun, but new research shows that there’s a downside to the thrill: 4,400 kids a year who get hurt.

Most of the injuries are not serious — just bumps and bruises, according to a new study that tracked 20 years of data from fixed-site amusement parks, mobile carnivals and fairs and coin-operated rides at places like malls, stores and restaurants.

But about 67 kids a year, or 1.5 percent, are injured badly enough to be hospitalized, including youngsters like Destini Lofton, who was 8 when she broke her wrist in 2008 on an indoor roller-coaster in Chicago.

“She turned around to high-five one of her nieces,” recalled Crystal Malone, 47, Destini’s mother. “Her wrist caught between the rides.”
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About 20 kids are day are hurt on rides in the peak season between May and September. “That’s one every two hours,” said Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.