How to Prevent Losing Kids and Keep Them Safe at Amusement Parks

Follow these tips to keep your child out of harm's way at theme parks

Girl and boy pulling their father in amusement park
Girl and boy pulling their father in amusement park. Getty Images/Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/OJO+

Parents and caregivers can take a number of steps to ensure children remain safe during trips to amusement parks. By taking precautions, parents and childcare providers can ensure visits to theme parks run smoothly.  

Consume Cautiously

Use the same judgment in picking rides as you would when selecting toys, activities or food for kids. Read height and weight guidelines and don't try to cheat the system.

Remember that these restrictions exist for safety reasons. The joy of a three-minute ride isn't worth the risk of possible injury or death of a child.

Observe Rides First

Children should know what they will be experiencing and know how the ride may dip and turn, swing or sway, go high or drop suddenly. Answer any questions kids might have about the ride.

Don't Force Kids on Scary Rides

Kids should never be forced to go on a ride that scares them. Well-meaning parents could traumatize them, and kids who become hysterical or nearly paralyzed with fear aren't having a good time. Ride operators report that many child injuries occur when kids attempt to get off rides or move erratically while the ride is in motion. 

Never Leave Children Unsupervised

It's difficult for parents to know how to proceed when one child wants to go on a certain ride and the other child doesn't. But young kids should have an adult chaperone with them at all times.

Don't leave one child alone to take a ride with another. Too much can happen while you're away.

Establish Meeting Places

It is easy to become separated from your child, especially in large, crowded amusement park settings. Establish an easy-to-see place for each area of the park "just in case." Walk with your kids and show them specifically where to meet.

Show children what employees and park security look like. Make sure they are well aware of stranger danger practices and not to leave the established meeting site for any reason. A park employee or security officer should be willing to wait with your child at a designated place if your child gets lost. Some larger parks have a "lost parents" section for kids and adults who become separated.

Ask Questions

Ask a lot of questions before letting your child go to an amusement park on a group-sponsored field trip. Before you pay money and sign a permission slip, ask what the adult-to-child ratio will be during the trip and how adults will keep a close eye on the children. Also, do any of the adults have medical training? How is money handled? What are their lost child practices? Ask these questions and more and make sure you are comfortable with the responses before you agree to the field trip.

Teach Kids Safety Measures

Repeatedly remind kids about keeping their hands and feet safely inside the equipment while taking rides at the park.

Injuries sometimes occur when kids try to stick out their hands and feet on rides and get hurt in the process.

Water Safety

Know your child's swimming ability and water comfort level before choosing water rides. Water parks feature fast-moving rides that can get children soaked or dunked into a pool of water at the end of the ride. Make sure kids know how to hold their breath, are comfortable with sudden splashes and won't panic when dropped into the pool from a slide. 

Wrapping Up

Trust your instinct about rides and ride safety. Be extremely cautious about letting kids ride on neighborhood carnival rides or equipment that makes sounds or appears old or run down. If a ride's appearance makes you uncomfortable, refuse to let your children go on it, even if they nag and beg to do so. Practice safety first!

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