Just days after a 10-year-old boy died on the Verrückt water slide at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, news is breaking that another child, this time just 3 years old, has been gravely injured on an amusement park ride. The Idlewild and SoakZone in Pennsylvania is the scene of this latest accident, according to People magazine.
There are conflicting reports about exactly what happened—as well as the little boy's condition—after he may have fallen off the Rollo Coaster attraction. CBS is reporting the coaster was built in 1938, and does not have seat belts.
The boy was reportedly riding with a 7-year-old sibling when he was ejected from his car, and fell between 10 and 12 feet to the ground, landing on the tracks. A 911 call suggests he did fall, but a statement from the park is less clear, saying "a boy riding the Rollo Coaster with his brother was injured while riding the attraction."
While some sources are reporting that the boy is in critical condition, the park's spokesman Jeff Croushore says he "was talking" and "was alert with his family" after the fall.
It's also unclear if the child met the ride's height requirements, which People reports is 36 inches, adding that any child under 48 inches must be accompanied by an adult.
What we do know is that these children were just trying to have fun when the unthinkable happened. Our hearts go out to the family, who is asking for privacy during this difficult time.
Meanwhile, the Idlewild accident comes on the heels not only of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab's death, but also after three girls, ages 6, 10 and 16, were hospitalized Monday after falling a reported 30 feet from a Ferris wheel at a fair in Greeneville, Tennessee. And Sunday, two people were injured on a roller coaster in Ohio.
It's important to note that in the case of the Rollo Coaster, the ride was inspected Pennsylvania State officials as recently as August 6, and is inspected daily by park workers. It was closed following the accident.
Here's hoping this tragic trend of kids getting injured on park rides is over. Our thoughts are with this child's family, and all of the families of those injured in these horrible accidents.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.