If you plan to visit the Myrtle Beach area this summer, you likely have at least one theme park on your agenda. Water parks, thrill rides and other daredevil pursuits abound up and down this part of the South Carolina coast. While these attractions are generally safe, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 30,000 emergency room visits resulted from amusement park incidents in 2016.

Protect yourself and family members on your vacation by reviewing the factors that contribute to serious amusement park injuries.

Factors that cause amusement park injuries

The CPSC divides the main factors that lead to amusement ride accidents into four primary categories as follows:

  • The nature of the ride itself. In these cases, the injury happens simply because of the forces that occur when the ride operates as expected. For example, rapid spinning can result in dizziness, headache, loss of consciousness, subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhage or cerebral hemorrhage.
  • Passenger negligence. These accidents occur when a person rides incorrectly and/or fails to adhere to safety directions. Examples include incorrect use of the safety restraints, standing up during the ride and rocking the car during ride operation.
  • Improper ride operation. This category covers employee error in securing the passenger or operating the ride.
  • Mechanical ride failure. These accidents occur when the ride malfunctions, whether because of a lack of maintenance or an inherent defect.

Common types of injuries

Based on the data from the CPSC, the types of accidents that occur most frequently in amusement parks include:

  • Drowning on water rides and attractions
  • Torn ligaments
  • Lacerations and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Traumatic brain injury from impact or the gravitational force
  • Stroke resulting from neck trauma
  • Impact injuries resulting from falls
  • Back, neck and head injuries from the force of the ride

Before riding or allowing your child to ride an amusement park attraction, carefully read the safety instructions. If an accident occurs because of operator or park negligence, you can seek legal damages to cover the cost of catastrophic injuries.