Mason County News
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Family Times
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 • Posted April 21, 2010

Theme Park Safety Tips

I know a lot of you are sending your kids on field trips in May, and will be headed to the parks this summer, so I thought you could use some tips on how to keep your kids safe at the theme park.

A trip to the amusement park can be-and should be-a wonderful adventure. But bringing children to crowded public venues creates some unique safety challenges for parents (and teachers!). Here are our favorite ideas for keeping kids protected and happy at the theme park, so you can all enjoy your adventure safely (and almost stress-free!).

Health and Comfort

*Be prepared! Pack a few essentials into your tote or backpack , including sunscreen, bug repellent, hand wipes, and first aid basics such as antibiotic ointment and bandages for handling cuts and scrapes.

*Make sure everyone’s wearing sturdy, comfortable shoes and thick, moisture-wicking socks. Leave the sandals home; they don’t protect little feet from shuffling crowds and don’t offer the all-day support you’ll need. (Headed for the waterpark? Water shoes rule!)

*Be sun-smart. For all-day protection, you can’t beat sun smart UPF 50+ apparel. Apply sunscreen before you go, and reapply often. Don’t forget sunhats and sunglasses. Bringing a stroller? If it doesn’t have a generous canopy, add your own shade.

*When you first get to the theme park, note where the first aid stations are located.

Getting Lost/Stranger Danger

*In a carnival-type atmosphere, it’s easy for kids to let down their guard. If your child is old enough, review your stranger danger rules before your trip and again when you arrive.

*Take precautions against getting separated in the crowd. A clip-on child locator makes it easy to find your child should you become parted. Write your cell phone number on your child’s arm. Walkee-talkies and cell phones make great tools for older kids.

*If you have an adventurous toddler, consider a wearable harness. Have reservations? Many parents report that children actually love them, because then they don’t have to cling to a parents’ hand every moment.

*If your child is old enough, identify an easy-to-spot meeting place as soon as you arrive. (Some parents give their kids a map of the park, with their meeting spot clearly marked.)

*Point park officials/employees out to your child right away, so they know who to go if they need help. Some experts recommend teaching kids to go to the nearest food stand because they’re easy to find.

*Dress your kids in brightly-colored clothing that’s easy to see and describe. Note what your child is wearing!

*Take current photos of your children with you. If you do get separated, they can be invaluable.

Going on Rides

*Read and follow the rules of the rides-period. They exist for a reason. According to Safe Kids USA, about 8,000 children under the age of 14 seek emergency room treatment every year for injuries involving thrill rides.

*Make sure your child meets all the posted height and age requirements, but remember that these are only guidelines. Use your parental judgment. A child may be tall enough to go on a certain ride, but may not have the impulse control needed to ride safely.

*Teach your child to stay seated and keep their limbs inside the car at all times. Always fasten any provided safety bars and belts. Make sure the adults in your party follow the rules as well, because kids will follow your example. In addition, teach your child not to dismount a ride until you give him the okay.

*Tie long hair back. Similarly, avoid long necklaces, purses with long straps, and anything that could easily be caught in equipment.

*Never put a crying or tired child on a ride. When kids are stressed, so are parents-and that’s when accidents happen. Be sensitive to your child’s limits.

Know when it’s time to call it a day and you’ll all have a wonderful time!

www.usa.safekids.org

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