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8 Amusement Park Safety Tips for Parents

Family Safety at Kennywood

When you're searching for a thrilling outing with your family, a trip to an amusement park will likely land high on your list. A large part of the appeal found in amusement parks comes from the opportunity to enjoy rides that get your blood flowing without actually putting you at risk. Rides are thoroughly tested and inspected, while operators go through extensive training to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Still, like any other large, public entertainment venue, amusement park safety takes some attention on the part of the guests. You may be surprised to learn approximately 70 percent of injuries that occur on amusement rides are due to rider error.

We've compiled this list of amusement park safety tips to ensure that your visit is filled with safe thrills. This leads to many happy, returning visits to amusement parks, which are among the most enjoyable ways a family can spend their time together on a summer day.

1) Follow All Posted Signs

Like anywhere else, a top key to amusement park safety is simply following the rules. Amusement park safety regulations can be found at the entrance to every single ride, laying out specific guidelines on what people can and cannot ride. Whether it's due to a height requirement, medical condition, or loose items that should not be taken on a ride, guests should follow amusement park safety rules at all times, both for themselves and for their fellow patrons. And when a sign says 'STAY OUT' or 'EMPLOYEES ONLY', listen to it. Just like you wouldn't walk into the middle of a busy highway, you should stay far away from a ride area where heavy machinery may be moving at high speeds. Amusement park safety rules are in place for a reason, and you (and everyone you're visiting with) should adhere to them - no questions asked.

2) Listen to the Ride Operator's Instructions

Similarly, each time you board a ride, a ride operator will give an introduction and instructions on how to ride safely. These amusement park safety tips may include how-tos on securing the ride's restraining device, waiting until the ride has come to a complete stop before getting on or off, or holding on to a lap bar. While throwing your hands up in the air on that roller coaster's big downhill run may increase the intensity and excitement, it also increases the risk of injury. Be aware and grab bars - they are installed on rides for a reason, to give guests something to hold on to and be safe.

3) Put the Phone Away!

One growing risk at amusement parks worldwide is the preponderance of guests who take their smart phones out during a ride in order to take pictures or videos of their experience. This goes against the amusement park safety rules of nearly every park in operation, as a phone or other item that is not properly secured can fall and strike another rider or amusement park guest. Especially when rides are traveling at high speeds and/or great heights, that falling phone becomes a dangerous projectile. Please adhere to this amusement park safety tip, no matter how much you want to capture that perfect photo: put the phones away while riding!

4) When Using a Phone, Use it for Good

While we recommend not using your phone too much while visiting an amusement park, we recognize that phones can have value in ensuring the safety of your group. Here's two amusement park safety related tips related to phones that we whole-heartedly support.

First, write your cell phone number on the arms of your children. Especially for younger children that may not be able to remember a phone number, or have their own phone with your number saved in it, this could be a critical towards reuniting you with your children if you both are inadvertently separated.

Second, before you begin the day, take a photo of your entire group. This way, if you are separated, you will be able to show the park staff a photo of your party that demonstrates exactly how they look that day. If you're stressed out because you don't know where your daughter wandered off to, you might momentarily forget what she was wearing or how she styled her hair that morning. Taking a picture first thing as it safeguards you against that ever occurring.

5) Have a Meeting Place

As your children grow up, your hold on them naturally loosens. It's a rite of passage, as they need (and demand) more independence on their way to developing into fully-formed, self-sufficient adults. A trip to an amusement park often serves as a safe place to expand some of those boundaries, as your kids may request to go off and ride with their friends, leaving "lame" mom and dad behind. It's okay! The age at which this first happens will vary from family to family, but no matter the age, we feel it's an important amusement park safety tip to designate a family meeting place, just to make sure everything's all right. Maybe it's in front of the Merry-Go-Round at 3 p.m., or the place you'll all meet to eat dinner at 5:30 p.m. By setting this amusement park safety rule for your children, you give them a little more independence and responsibility (which they will appreciate) while also ensuring you're able to check in and make sure everything is okay. One last amusement park safety tip on this subject: if you hang on to all the money, they'll have even more incentive to check in with you periodically!

6) Know Where to Go

Make sure all members of your group know where to go in the event something does go wrong. Whether it's a sudden thunderstorm, someone getting separated from the group, or anything else, instruct your children on the location of the guest service centers around the park. In the case of Kennywood, our service centers are located behind Noah's Ark and at the park entrance. At these locations, Kennywood team members can assist your child and contact you to come meet them. Another factor to this preparedness is reviewing the park map as a group before your trip begins, and again before you let your children go off on their own.

7) Use Sunscreen!

Who doesn't love a sun-splashed day at Pittsburgh's best amusement park? People who forget to wear sunscreen will have fun, but come to regret the oversight in the days after, as they deal with red, peeling skin and the discomfort that comes with a sunburn. Yes, it's an overlooked part of amusement park safety, but the sun can certainly pose a threat, even on partly cloudy days or to people who have sturdier skin. So grab the SPF and don't be afraid to lather it on a couple times throughout the day. Your skin will thank you!

8) Drink Up!

On a similar note, it is critical to stay hydrated during your visit. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, and a myriad of more serious medical problems. The best way to avoid this is to drink water. Soft drinks can actually increase dehydration. This doesn't go for just guests either. One of the most important amusement park safety regulations that we share continuously with our staff is how vital it is to a person's health to drink sufficient quantities of water, especially on hot, humid days (which we get plenty of in Pittsburgh).

While these tips are specifically for amusement park safety, they can apply when you're out enjoying many of the other fun things to do in Pittsburgh, especially if you are in a large, public setting. Now the only thing left for you to do is put all of this adviec into practice, so make sure to check out the great deals now available on Kennywood tickets and season passes, and plan your visit today!

Kennywood is America's Finest Traditional Amusement Park! The Pittsburgh-area park offers a unique mix of modern thrills and classic rides, including seven roller coasters, a 14-ride Kiddieland, and several attractions that cannot be found anywhere else. Kennywood, founded in 1898, continues to provide unforgettable fun for all ages.

Sandcastle Waterpark has been providing summer fun for 28 seasons. Sandcastle offers funs for all ages with 15 infamous waterslides, the wild Mon-Tsunami Wave Pool, scenic Mushroom Pool, relaxing Lazy River, pint-sized Tad Pool, and Wet Willie's Waterworks.

Idlewild & SoakZone, founded in 1878 as a picnic ground along the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, is the longest-operating amusement park in Pennsylvania and third-oldest in America. It has been recognized as the world's best children's park by Amusement Today.