The Un-Amusing Side to
Amusement Rides

It's All Fun and Games

Amusement parks and carnivals are a typical part of the American culture. We enjoy going to these places for a day of fun and excitement. Some people prefer the food, others prefer the games, and the adventurous ones – they prefer the rides. The rides are an important part of local events like state fairs and festivals. Of course, rides are also the main attraction at most amusement parks. But what happens when someone’s favorite part of the day evolves around something that is actually very dangerous? Below you will find an abundance of information regarding amusement ride safety.

About Amusement Ride Safety

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that data on amusement ride injuries can be hard to find. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has not released a formal database listing an accurate number of injuries; however, they have released a survey completed in 2016 of injury count estimates between 2003 and 2015. The data referenced below is from a source called Saferparks Database. This organization put together data from various different sources in order to provide a database of accurate reports from 1986 to 2014. Saferparks has indicated over 14,000 different instances in which someone got hurt on an amusement ride, whether it be as simple as a small paper cut, to as tragic as death.

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Ex: Ohio State Fair

Why is amusement ride safety so important? Let's use the 2017 Ohio State Fair as an example. What should have been an exciting getaway to the State Fair, filled with funnel cakes and fast rides, turned tragic for one Ohio family on July 26, 2017. A carnival ride called the ‘Fireball,’ malfunctioned in mid-air, cutting a section of the seats off of the ride while spinning at high speeds over 20 feet in the air. Seven people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, and one 18-year-old, who had just joined the Marines, died from the accident.

State Trends

While state fairs and amusement parks are all over the U.S., there are a few states that tend to see higher rates of injuries compared to other states. As expected, most of the states are areas in which there are large amusement parks like Disneyland, Six Flags, etc. However, some of the statistics might surprise you. Click on the map to the right to see the exact number of injuries accounted for in a particular state.

Rides with most accidents by state

As expected, New Jersey, California, Texas, and Florida all had high injury rates. These are all states that have very large amusement parks visited by millions of people per year. There’s a good chance that you or someone you know has been to an amusement park, state fair, or carnival in one of those states. So, which rides seem to have the most injuries out of these four states? Choose a state from the dropdown menu to the left to see which type of ride proves to be the most dangerous.

Accidents by Category

While there may be more accidents on a particular type of ride, the accidents may not be as major as they seem. As mentioned before, Saferparks collected data on injuries ranging from papercuts to death. This information can make a person wonder, ‘What exactly went wrong on the rides?” Filter the table below by accident category to see all of the details about each incident.

DateStateRide or DeviceDevice TypeManufacturerAgeAccident DescriptionInjury

Click here to download this data.

Safety comes first

It is the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' (IAAPA) priority to keep amusement ride participants safe. Amusement rides are to undergo continuous review to ensure that technology is up-to-date and are in correspondence with governmental jurisdictions. After seeing the injuries listed above, will you be first in line at the newest amusement attraction near you?

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