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Amusement park regulation and safety

During the summer, amusement parks are top entertainment choices for many Georgia families. While most families leave parks with fond memories, these outings can also turn hazardous. In a recent post, one family’s afternoon at a water park ended in the hospitalization and death of their daughter. Despite the safety regulations, injuries sustained at amusement parks occur each summer, and many are not reported.


The federal government does not oversee amusement parks, although the U.S. contains over 400. The New York Daily News says that states determine their own amusement park regulations. A representative for an amusement park safety nonprofit stated that all parks benefit from safe equipment and the state laws in place are strong enough. State oversight is required because federal agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission only inspect parks that fall under the label “consumer products.” This means that while moving carnivals are regularly inspected, stationary amusement parks are exempt.


A push has been made in Congress to regain federal control over amusement park regulations. The amusement park industry says the number of deaths and injuries is too low to merit federal involvement. Every call for federal oversight has not made it out of Congress.


Although headlines may worry some consumers, amusement parks are safer than most other forms of recreation. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, a thrill seeker at an amusement park only has a 1 in 16 million chance of incurring an injury. Campers are more likely to experience an injury, with a 5 in 1 million chance of being hurt while spending the week outdoors. Guest safety is a priority for amusement parks, and the ride manufacturers and operators say they work to ensure they can deliver a safe experience every time.

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