Operational Issues

Man operating kiddie ride

Operational issues have big impact on patron safety.  Company policies vary widely from park to park and carnival to carnival. Regulatory oversight of operator hiring and training policies varies by state. 

Consumer Tips

  • Never board an amusement ride if you feel uneasy about the way it's being operated. If the ride attendants look young, immature, or inattentive, choose another ride.
  • Always follow the rules posted on the ride and the instructions given by operators. No exceptions.
  • Treat operators and attendants with respect. Teach your children to view them as lifeguards because that's what they are, even if their theme park bosses happen to dress them up like Tyrolean elves.
  • Never pressure a ride attendant to break a rule for you or your child. Height, weight, and health restrictions are set for your benefit. If you put your kindergartener in platform shoes to sneak her on a ride she's too short for, you're risking her life. No kidding. If something goes wrong, you will regret that impulse.
  • If you notice that the attendants are ignoring posted minimum height limits and allowing smaller riders on board, they're not taking the job seriously. If they're willing to put those small riders' lives at risk, they're likely to be as cavalier about your safety too.
  • If you have trouble communicating with a ride operator, think twice before boarding the ride. What would happen if something goes wrong? Do you really want to trust your safety and the safety of your children to a company that can't afford English-speaking employees?
  • If it looks like the attendants on a particular ride are spread too thin for safety, choose another ride. If the ride operator is also the ticket taker, the height checker, and the queue manager, he may not be able to give his full attention to the machinery and the riders.
  • If a ride operator or attendant is inebriated, report it immediately to security staff or police.

Related Safety Tips

Safety first: It begins with me!
Attention Matters and So Do the Rules
Beware of patron daze, rule fudging, wiggle worms and horseplay.
Inflatable obstacle course
Patron-directed Rides and Devices
Injuries are more common on patron-directed amusement rides and attractions.
Man and son
Patrons with Disabilities
When choosing rides for people with disabilities, be conservative and realistic.
Medical x-rays
Patron Age and Health
Older riders and people with pre-existing medical conditions may be at higher risk of injury on some types of rides.