Amusement parks should be places of entertainment and happiness, but on occasion, they can turn into places of horror. When theme park operators neglect their number one priority – safety – horrific child injuries can occur.
According to the list of amusement park injuries maintained by ThemeParkInsider.com, some of the common child injuries that occur in theme park accidents include:
- Broken bones, mainly legs and arms
- Neck and back injuries
- Bruises, scrapes and cuts from falling objects or debris
- Heart attacks and strokes on high-speed roller coasters
- Limb amputations
- Brain damage from falls or after being run over by an amusement ride
There are more than 450 amusement parks in the United States, with as many as 15 million visitors flocking to some of these parks each year.
In 2006, approximately 8,800 people were injured at an amusement park, according to a report from the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Children represent half of those injured.
Common Child Head Injuries on Roller Coasters
There are two common types of child head injuries that can occur on roller coasters:
Brain aneurysms: This is when brain arteries bulge to an excessive size. Up to 1 in 15 people can have a brain aneurysm at some point in their lifetime. The particularly dangerous aspect of this is that many people, children included, won’t know they have an aneurysm until it ruptures. The speed of the roller coaster can possibly cause the rupture. This type of child head injury could cause a stroke, brain damage or death.
Traumatic Brian Injury (TBI): This is when a child experiences bleeding in the brain due to a subdural hematoma. Abnormal stress is placed on the veins in the child’s brain, usually as a result of G-forces and excessive speed. If a ride malfunctions, a child’s head could hit against an object, causing TBI. In this case, you’ll want to work with your Boston child injury attorney to determine if the amusement park was negligent in some way, leading to the ride malfunction.
The Role of G-force in Child Brain Injury
A TBI on roller coasters is explained, in large part, from the role of G-force, or acceleration. The high G-forces on a roller coaster put a lot of pressure on veins in the brain, which, in extreme cases, can actually cause bleeding and hemorrhaging in the brain.
G-force, though, is something we encounter in everyday life. Why then, can it have life changing—and often fatal—effects such as a child brain injury when it comes to roller coasters?
Let’s take a look at some of the G-forces you encounter on a daily basis. A powerful sneeze can generate a G-force of 2.9. Hitting your hand to your head could generate as much as 10 Gs, while getting rear-ended in a car could produce as little as 3 Gs.
On a rollercoaster, the highest G-force you will experience is at a level 6, when it is going downhill. This is less than some other common G-forces previously outlined. The difference between everyday acceleration—such as a sneeze—and that of roller coasters (and car accidents) is likely owed to the duration of the impact as well as your body’s ability to brace for the sneeze, etc.
Children Who Should Avoid Roller Coasters
There are certain groups of children who are cautioned against riding, because of their increased risk for roller coaster injuries. These kids actually don’t account for the majority who suffered from brain injury as they tend to avoid the rides altogether.
Children who are cautioned against riding roller coasters altogether include those who suffer from:
- heart conditions;
- back Injuries;
- neck Injuries; and
- previous orthopedic surgery.
The biggest risk for roller coaster injuries is to riders who are not even aware they have a health condition. It’s often that this condition puts them at an inherent risk for a brain injury. In many cases, not even the child’s doctor, much less the ride’s operator, can detect the problem.
Some of these conditions include:
- blood vessel abnormalities;
- blood vessel malformations; and
After a review from the Brain Injury Association of America of 57 roller coaster injuries, most of those injured sustained some nerve and blood vessel damage. What is interesting to note is that all of the 6 fatal roller coaster injuries occurred in riders with an undiagnosed health condition.
When to Hire a Boston Child Injury Attorney
If a child brain injury occurs after a roller coaster ride, the first concern is to get immediate medical attention in an emergency room setting. Once the immediate medical care has ended, you’ll want to secure the services of a Boston child injury attorney.
If your child has been hurt due to a roller coaster injury, you’ll want to first seek medical attention. Tests may point to an undiagnosed condition.
At this point, keep any records from tests that may be done on your child. This way, when you hire a Boston child injury lawyer, you’ll have a place from which to start.
The Boston child injury lawyers at Kiley Law Group serve clients in the greater Boston area and will advocate for fair compensation for your child’s injuries. For a no-cost evaluation of your child injury case, contact a Massachusetts child brain injury attorney at 800-930-8145.