Theme parks are usually fantastic family days out – loved by young and old alike, but accidents do occasionally happen. We were particularly saddened and shocked to hear of the recent accident on the Smiler rollercoaster at the local theme park Alton Towers, leaving many riders injured and some with devastating and life changing serious injuries.

Alton Towers has an excellent track record for safety, however accidents can happen when we least expect them. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is already investigating the incident with the full cooperation of the Park, and they are also consulting with ride designers, manufacturers, importers, the bodies who carry out design reviews and thorough examinations, controllers and operators of the rides.

We are sure that the theme park and the HSE will do everything in their powers to ensure that this will not happen again.

What measures can I take to stay safe at the theme park?

Life would be pretty boring without some adrenalin and that’s why we love theme parks so much. Fortunately serious accidents on the rides themselves are very rare, however there are measures we can take to ensure the safety of ourselves and our families when we are visiting top attractions.

  • Be aware of what’s going on.

It’s easy to get carried away with the fun of a theme park. But they are usually very busy places with big crowds. Therefore, you should obey signs asking you not to run, keep an eye out for people pushing prams or who are in wheelchairs and make sure that you don’t knock needlessly into people.

  • Pay attention to any restrictions.

Theme parks impose restrictions on certain attractions for safety reasons. Before you queue for a certain ride, make sure you read its boarding restrictions. Some rides will impose height restrictions, often for those below or above a certain height. Others may state that they are unsuitable for anyone suffering from a back or neck problem, or who have a history of heart attacks or stroke. These restrictions are in place to make sure that everyone has the best possible chance of enjoying the ride, whilst staying safe.

  • Don’t cheat and don’t assume!

Dont be tempted to ‘cheat’ in order to get yourself or a family member or friend onto a ride. Don’t just assume that because a ride ‘looks’ suitable for you, that it is. Restrictions are put in place for many reasons, including for safety reasons should a ride need evacuating – don’t assume that you know why restrictions are in place!

  • Remember – warning signs are there for a reason.

It sounds obvious, but never enter a restricted area. Warning signs saying that an area is prohibited to the general public must be obeyed. If you do drop a hat, or other item, alert a member of staff who will be able to help you. NEVER climb over a fence to retrieve lost property yourself as you could be putting your life and the lives of others in serious danger.

  • Keep an eye on children.

Of course children are going to be very excited by the prospect of visiting a theme park and therefore as a supervising adult, it’s vital that you stay alert to where they are at all times. A small child can become lost, or even trampled in large crowds. Children also may not realise the danger of crossing into restricted areas so it’s important to make sure you always keep them in your sights.

  • Don’t queue jump.

Don’t be tempted to be a queue jumper and cut in line before others who are waiting. Lines for favourite attractions can be long and it might seem tempting to jump the queue if you see an opportunity, but nothing sparks arguments and even fights more than pushing in! Try not to be confrontational – if you see someone else queue jumping, report it to a member of park staff instead of risking an argument yourself.

Freeclaim Solicitor’ Serious Injury Solicitor, Sabrina McCarron has previously worked on a case involving an accident at an amusement park in Blackpool. She said, “I recently helped bring to a conclusion a case where a young lady sustained serious injuries at a water dancing fountain. The incident was fully investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and since the accident the amusement park has implemented stricter controls to prevent further injuries occurring.”

Sabrina continues, “Fortunately these types of accidents are quite rare as theme parks in the UK generally have good safety records. However we have just seen the absolutely devastating impact of the recent accident at Alton Towers. Our thoughts are with the injured riders and their families at this difficult time.”