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5 Tips For Keeping Kids Safe At Theme Parks

Lots of families head to amusement parks during the summer for a fun adventure! We probably all have memories of riding that big roller coaster or taking a spin the merry-go-round as kids, right? While amusement parks go to great lengths to keep patrons safe in the parks, as parents we should all do our due diligence to make sure our family's safety is a priority.

These five tips for keeping your kids safe at an amusement park can help insure your trip is full of fun and adventure, and help prevent accidents and injuries.

1. Follow all park rules during your time there!

Park rules are there for a reason: they're to keep patrons safe and to help make everyone's experience enjoyable. Posted signs warning kids to stay off fences, ride requirements, and rules such as no running aren't meant to damper your fun, but make sure no one gets hurt or impedes another experience.

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2. Watch your kids at all times!

This one should be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often little ones get lost at an amusement park! Toddlers are especially good at wandering off when left unsupervised, and in a sea of people, it can be scary when you lose sight of them. Make sure your small kids are secured in a stroller, or use one of those backpack safety harnesses for little walkers.

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Before entering the park, have a plan in place for what to do if you get separated. Make sure older kids know where to go if they lose you (use a park map to point out guest relations kiosks), and go over who to ask for help (look for a uniformed employee or law enforcement officer). Also, set a designated meeting place for everyone to circle back to if your party gets separated.

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3. Stay hydrated, and eat smart

Staying hydrated is especially important during the summer months, when running around the park can overheat and dehydrate kids. Make sure to take regular water breaks, and try to space your fun out with a few breaks in the shade. When it comes to food, avoid eating a big meal right before getting on rides. A full belly and a spinning ride are never a good combination!

4. Double-check your safety harnesses, belts, and latches

Most rides will have attendants who check the belts and harnesses or riders before the ride takes off. But get in the habit of doing your safety check as soon as you're buckled in, and alert the attendant immediately if the belt or harness feels loose or doesn't latch properly. As always, follow the rules of the ride: keep hands and feet inside your car at all times, and don't try to sneak a small rider onto a ride with a height or weight requirement that they don't meet.

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5. Space out the high-speed rides

The vibrations, jerky movements, and gravitational pull of high-speed rides can take a toll on young bodies! Ryan Coates, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at Loyola University Health System in Chicago recommends taking a 10-15 minute break between rides where riders are jostled around.

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