Child Falls From Pennsylvania Roller Coaster, 3rd Incident In 4 Days

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A child has fallen from yet another amusement park ride – the third incident of its kind in four days. This time, the culprit was a roller coaster at the Idlewild and SoakZone amusement park near Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Another child occurred brain damage after he and two companions fell off a Ferris wheel in Tennessee, while a 10-year-old boy died of injuries after going on a Kansas water slide, USA Today reports.

The rising number of incidents has rung alarm bells all over the country, as parents and advocates push for safety reforms at amusement parks in several states.

Ken Martin, a safety expert, says they are calling for stricter, uniform federal regulations on amusement park rides. He adds that in amusement park companies’ desire to build more exciting rides, they may be building in more danger.

This latest accident happened Thursday. Westmoreland County officials have confirmed that the child, whose details have not been released, was conscious and alert after having fallen off the Rollo Coaster. He was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh immediately.

Park spokesperson Jeff Croushore told Pittsburgh local station WTAE-Tv that the ride is actually quite old – dating back to 1938. He emphasized that all amusement park rides are inspected daily and that safety is always their first priority.

Permanent, highly popular theme parks such as Disney World and Six Flags draw in around 335 million visitors annually, and water parks attract around 85 million a year, reports the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

While most rides are safe, especially those in the bigger, well-known amusement parks, the number of children getting injured at these venues can be worrying. A study conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 2013 found that between 1990 to 2010, there were 92,885 children under 18 years old treated in emergency rooms across the US for amusement park-related injuries. That means 4,423 children per year, on average. Over 70% of these injuries occurred in the months of May through September, at an average of 20 injuries daily.

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