"We were pretty surprised at the number of incidents," Mehan said. "That's about 4,400 a year or 20 children a day. The most common injuries are broken bones, head and neck injuries. Consumers have to make sure they feel comfortable riding the rides. Trust your instincts and if you're worried about the safety of the ride, choose a different activity."
In addition to following your gut, the senior researcher on the study, Dr. Gary Smith, M.D., DrPH, offers important tips for consumers:
*Always follow height, age, weight and health restrictions for each ride *Follow special instructions, including seating order or loading order, and instructions to keep hands and feet inside the ride *Make sure you always use the safety equipment, seat belts and safety bars *Know your child: If you don't think they will be able to follow all the rules, keep them off of the ride *Avoid mall rides, if they are over a hard, unpadded surface or if they don't have a child restraint such as a seat belt.
Texas is one of 17 states that do not have a state-run agency in charge of amusement park ride inspections. Meanwhile, Senator Ed Markey (D-MASS) has introduced legislation every year since 1999 to pass federal regulations for amusement park safety.