MIDDLEBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A ten-year-old boy killed on a water slide in Kansas. Three girls seriously hurt after their ferris wheel car flips over. While serious injuries and deaths are not common at theme parks, they do happen.
Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury has been operating for 108 years. Owner and President Eric Anderson says safety is always their top concern.
“We have four staff members that come in every morning at 6 a.m. and run every ride in the whole park and every slide in the whole park is gone through before we let any guests on any attraction in the park,” said Anderson.
Anderson says their waterpark is the most popular area in the summer months. Park officials say the park is restricted to attractions 35-feet and under. The waterpark caters to a 12 and under crowd, but is fun for the whole family.
“We typically come to this water park because it’s smaller. We find it’s a little bit safer, but we are going on the rides with the kids and just being a little bit extra cautious,” said Tamie Tellone, a mother visiting from Westchester.
Tellone said her two daughters were asking questions about ride safety after learning of the boy who died this weekend.
“When I heard about the kid who passed away I was a little nervous, but I really had fun and I’m glad there were no injuries here,” said ten-year-old Gianna.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more 7,200 injuries reported at waterparks last year. More than 4,000 of them required a hospital visit. Anderson says they see a lot of bumps and bruises, but have not had any serious incidents like the one in Kansas.
“They come to the waterpark, they’re very excited to be around the slides and they run a lot. So there’s a lot of trip and falls, a lot of bumping. You know, they get a little anxious,” said Anderson.
Anderson says all riders need to pay attention to ride requirements. He says height and weight restrictions come from ride manufacturers and parks must follow the rules.
“Every ride at the waterpark here has a height limit sign. Every attendant that works at the top of the slide has a pole that they hold up so that people that are too short aren’t able to go on the ride,” said Anderson.
Park officials say all of their staff receives extensive training on safety procedures for the rides they operate. Prior to opening day several safety inspections are conducted. Anderson says state and local police, the fire marshal, engineers and an electrician all help to ensure rides are operating properly before anyone is allowed into the park each season.
Still, Anderson says parents need to do their part and keep a close eye on kids while they’re having fun. He also stresses the importance of adhering to the ride requirements.