Water Slide Injuries Have Seen Large Settlements After Negligence Lawsuits Filed Against Water Parks
A new study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that water alike injuries resulted in over 5,200 hospitalizations throughout the country after water park accidents. In 2009, the number of accidents was just over 3,000. The increasing safety risks of water slides have led some families to sue the parks due to injuries occurring on water slides.
The CPSC found that over 5,200 injuries were caused by public water slide accidents. This indicates that waterslides are currently one of the most dangerous rides at any water park or amusement park, in part due to inconsistent regulations and lack of safety standards. [http://www.consumersdigest.com/special-reports/article/waterparks-is-public-safety-going-down-the-tubes/consumer-protection, August 2015]
Water slide injuries and accidents were first brought to light in 1997 when a girl from California died in the collapse of a water slide. The family agreed to settle the negligence lawsuit filed for $1.7 million in 2015. 32 other children were also injured in the collapse, but no other children were killed in this incident. The court ruled that the water slide did not have proper safety standards in place, which contributed to the collapse of the slide. Other families have also sued water parks for injuries sustained on their equipment. Park visitors have sued for injuries sustained while using a water slide. Earlier this year, a family from Wisconsin sued a water park company for injuries sustained in a teen boy who rode one of their looping water slides. [http://articles.latimes.com/2000/may/13/business/fi-29658, August 2015]
According to Saferparks.org, waterslides often cause minor injuries, such as bruises, bumps, dizziness, headaches, scratches, cuts and burns. Serious water park injuries can result in traumatic brain injuries or fall injuries if the person riding the slide is swept off the edge of the slide into the air during a sharp turn. About two percent of waterslide accidents result in overnight hospital visits, the site estimates, but the CPSC study suggests that water slide accidents are far more common than seen in existing reports. [http://www.saferparks.org/safety-tips/patron-directed-rides-and-devices, August 2015]
In response to the high number of water slide injuries, concerned organizations have worked with the Division of Occupational Safety to create stricter laws for water slides and other water rides at amusement parks. Activists want all accidents reported to the state if the accident results in a hospital visit. Activists are also pushing for a pending federal bill to pass in Congress, which would allow the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate all water slides across the nation.
Until further regulations are in place, waterslide riders should use common sense when riding. Always follow all safety instructions and never ride on a slide that looks dangerous, looks rickety or in poor repair, or is not operated by an attendant or lifeguard. Waterslide lovers are also advised to stay away from extreme drop slides, as risk of serious injury from these slides is much higher than that of tamer water slides.