As the calendar closes in on Labor Day, a lot of you are closing in on a trip to the amusement park. Sound like fun? Darn right!
But as doctors, we'd like to give you a heads-up. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that in 2005 (the last year with stats) around 7,400 people were injured on amusement park rides. More recent info from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions says things are improving: In the U.S. in 2010, 290 million folks took around 1.7 billion rides. There were only 1,207 reports of ride-related injuries. Those numbers, however, don't include the stiff necks, headaches, or bruised elbows that happen to riders. That's why we've got tips on how to come back home from Wild Rollercoaster World with great memories, not aches and pains.
Stay hydrated. Thrills crank up stress hormones and increase your heart rate and breathing, which depletes fluids. Low on fluids? That builds stress. Then, here comes that headache.
Follow the rules. Don't bend age and height restrictions; they protect kids from getting bounced around (or worse) and keep too-heavy or too-tall adults from injury. (If you can't get the safety bar locked down over your belly, get off the ride — and walk away from the park's food stands, too!)
You be the canary. If you're not sure a ride is for your child, try it out solo. We know the lines are long, but there are no excuses for safety. Now go have fun!
© 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.