New York State Promotes Efforts to Ensure Amusement Park Safety

Albany, NY (May 24, 2010) –
At press conferences today at Martin’s Fantasy Island in Grand Island and at Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester, New York, State Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner described the Department of Labor’s efforts to ensure amusement park safety. She reminded all New Yorkers that it is important to follow basic safety guidelines so they can safely enjoy rides at amusement parks and traveling carnivals.

“The upcoming Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Governor Paterson wants to encourage all New Yorkers and those visiting our great state to enjoy the holiday, but also to be safe at New York’s wide variety of amusement parks, fairs and carnivals,” said Commissioner Gardner. “We will do our part to ensure your safety by inspecting rides to make sure they are mechanically sound. We will also inspect rides while they are in use to make sure that ride operators are following proper procedures.”

“But you – the consumer – have an important role in safety, too,” the Commissioner added. “By following rules and regulations, and exercising common sense, you can help to make New York’s warm-weather attractions fun and safe for everyone. I encourage all New Yorkers to visit our park safety web site at”

The web site – – offers parents and children helpful tips on ride safety, along with a directory of amusement parks in New York State. The site also makes it simple to
e-mail the Department of Labor to report unsafe conditions.

The State Department of Labor enforces amusement ride safety throughout the state, except in New York City. Labor Department staff inspect all rides at stationary parks at least once a year, and they inspect rides at traveling carnivals or fairs every time the ride is set up in a new location. A ride cannot legally operate without a permit from the Labor Department.

Last year, the department inspected more than 1,400 venues and more than 11,700 amusement devices.

The Department of Labor offers consumers the following safety guidelines:

•Listen to the ride operator’s instructions.
•Read and follow posted warnings and instructions.
•Keep hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving.
•Don’t reach toward fences or barriers.
•Secure loose clothing and long hair.
•Don’t drink and ride. You put yourself and others at risk.
•Don’t stand or attempt to leave a ride until it comes to a complete stop.
•Check restraining devices to make sure they are properly latched. Avoid horseplay; it’s dangerous. Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator.

Parents with children:

•Don’t assume a ride is safe for children if you hold on to them. If you hold on to your child, you aren’t looking after yourself, and both of you could be at risk.
•Parents should never ride go-carts or bumper cars with children on their laps.
•Observe age, height and weight restrictions.
•Talk to children so they know what to expect of the ride.
•If your child gets scared, ask (if possible) that the ride be stopped.
•If your child is afraid of the ride, it’s probably best not to put her or him on it.
•Not all rides are appropriate for all children, even if they do meet the height requirements. As a parent, you know your child’s ability to follow instructions.
•Water rides require additional attention.
•Walk, don’t run on pool decks and surroundings.
•On water slides, follow instructions and leave the pool area at the bottom quickly. Always slide feet first; sliding head first is a major cause of head and neck injuries.
•Use flotation devices when needed.

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