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Amusement Rides: More Risk Than Fun?

Video Courtesy of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

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-To adults, they may not seem scary or intimidating, but for more than 4,000 US children each year, even rides like these can prove dangerous. Just ask Crystal Malone. A few years ago, when her daughter, Destiny, was 8 she got on a ride like this one and wound up at the hospital with a broken arm. -She had reached back to high-five one of her nieces and then she was bringing it back, the wrist part got caught in the corners of the ride. -And the new study is showing just how common injuries like that can be. Between 1990 and 2010, nearly 93,000 children were treated at emergency departments for amusement ride injuries. About a third of those kids were 5 or younger and falling was the most common mechanism of injury. But it's not always the biggest, fastest rides that are to blame. -When we talk about amusement rides, we often think immediately of the rollercoasters and the large rides. But in this study, we found that a surprising number of injuries were occurring at local shopping malls, restaurants and arcades. -Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children's Hospital led the study. He says many injuries happen at permanent sites. Mobile rides like those at fairs and carnivals are regulated by federal guidelines, but not these. Fixed rides at places like amusement parks and shopping malls are regulated by local and state governments. And enforcement of safety standards can vary widely. -It becomes very difficult to effectively regulate and prevent these injuries or even though how many injuries are occurring. -Smith, who was also a professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University says, we need to regulate all amusement rides more consistently to protect more children in the future. At Nationwide Children's Hospital, this is Clark Powell reporting.