UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Amusement park safety

Keywords: roller coasters, summer, death (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/17/2021 by Jenny Guyther, MD
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Over a one year study period, 182 accident events at amusement parks were reported in the news from 38 countries.  51 events involved a fatality. Mechanical rides and roller coasters were involved in 87 events. 
The risk of injury associated with spending a day at an amusement park is very low, but not non-existent.
The high g forces of certain thrill rides (ie roller coasters) can predispose to injury in some children and adolescents with preexisting medical conditions.
Among the conditions that are considered contraindications to exposure to high g force or other thrill rides are Marfan syndrome, Down syndrome, hypermobility-related disorders, coagulation disorders, and many cardiac disorders, particularly ones with rhythm abnormalities.


Woodcock K. Global incidence of theme park and amusement ride accidents. Safety Sci. 2019; 119:171-179.
Pelletier AR, Gilchrist J. Roller coaster related fatalities, United States, 1994--2004. Inj Prev. 2005 Oct;11(5):309-12. doi: 10.1136/ip.2005.008425. PMID: 16203841; PMCID: PMC1730261.
AAP.  Question of the Week.  June 2, 2021.