Study: Amusement ride injuries send thousands of children to U.S. emergency departments

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Your kids may be eager to get in line to ride a roller coaster or hop on a mall carousel, but a new study may make you think twice about letting your children on an amusement ride.

The study found 92,885 children were treated at U.S. emergency departments for amusement ride-related injuries between 1990 and 2010. 

"These injuries are serious enough to be treated in an emergency department so it is something we need to take a look at," said Tracy Mehan, the manager or translational research at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. The center conducted the study.

More than 70 percent of the injuries occurred between May and September, which equates to more than 20 children a day being treated for amusement ride-related injuries, according to Mehan.

Most of the injuries occurred to the head and neck region, the arms, face and legs, according to the study. The study also found soft tissue injuries, strains and sprains, cuts and broken bones were the most common types of injuries.

Mehan said researchers were surprised that 12 percent of the injuries occurred on small amusement rides at malls, stores and restaurants.

"You don't really think about the rides that you see at the mall or at the playgrounds at the mall, but every day at least one child is being treated in an emergency department from an injury on those types of rides," she said.

Researchers found 33 percent of the injuries occurred on "fixed-site" rides, like the rides at amusement parks. They said 29 percent of the injuries happened on mobile rides, like the amusements found at fairs and festivals.

To keep your kids safer on amusement rides, Mehan said follow the ride's rules, use the safety equipment and trust your instincts. If a ride doesn't seem safe, choose another activity.

NewsChannel5 investigators took a look at the safety of another popular amusement. We found an alarming number of injuries happening on Inflatable bouncers.

Watch Investigator Sarah Buduson's inflatable bouncer investigation tonight on NewsChannel5 at 11 p.m.

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