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4 amusement park safety tips for kids

Maggie Berger, 1, of Oceanside, on her first

Maggie Berger, 1, of Oceanside, on her first solo ride at the St. Anthony's Feast in Oceanside. (June 10, 2012) Credit: Jason Berger

The first time I watched my 16-month-old daughter go on a ride by herself I immediately started rattling off a checklist in my head. “Is she strapped in tightly enough?" "Is the ride safe?" "Will she try to get out?" "What if she is afraid?” While I was happy to see her having fun, I couldn't contain my thoughts from, well, thinking like a mom.

It got me thinking about safety tips on amusement park rides, so I reached out to William Avery, creator of expertsafety.com, a site that features consumer safety tips based on his 36-year career in the amusement park industry. Here, his top four tips for keeping kids safe at amusement parks:

1. Know your child. “Never place a child on a ride they're afraid of,” Avery said. “Read the warning, instructional and rule signs along with your child and ask him or her to explain the information back to you.

2. Talk about the ride. “Let your children know that rides may stop temporarily but they should never attempt to get out until they're told to do so by the operator,” Avery said. “Make sure they know to always hold onto the bars and handholds with both hands.”

3. Be truthful. Never try to fudge a child's height to get them on a ride, he said.

4. Watch the inflatables. “Always play with similar-sized children on the inflatable bouncy rides,” Avery said. “Never overcrowd play devices, this includes bounce houses, obstacle courses and slides. Also, never jump, dive, flip or somersault on an inflatable device, no matter how cozy it appears.”

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