The New York Department of State and the Department of Labor today announced proactive measures to ensure a fun, safe amusement park and fair season for families and visitors statewide. NYSDOL inspects all rides at stationary parks outside of New York City at least once a year and inspects rides at traveling carnivals or fairs every time the rides are set up at a new location. A ride cannot legally operate without a permit from NYSDOL. In 2022, the Department inspected around 6,900 rides across New York State.
“Amusement parks, fairs and carnivals are an exciting way to spend time with your family during the summer, but a fun day can quickly turn into a bad experience if the proper safety procedures are not followed,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “Before heading to one of these attractions, parents and children alike should be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe and know the warning signs of a potentially unsafe ride.”
“Our inspectors work diligently and thoroughly to ensure that every piece of equipment functions properly before anyone boards these rides,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “When you see the NYSDOL inspection tag, you know that the ride has been thoroughly inspected and is safe to enjoy.”
NYSDOL inspections are a three-step process:
- As rides are brought into a fair or festival location, each individual part and component of each individual ride is inspected for defects.
- The ride is assembled and inspected again to ensure that all components have been assembled and are properly secured.
- The operator of the ride is required to run the ride, and it is inspected once more while operating. The person operating the ride is also observed to ensure that he or she is operating the ride correctly.
NYSDOL places dated inspection tags on each ride after it has passed inspection. No ride that fails an inspection is permitted to operate, but these tags allow families to see plainly that the ride has been inspected and deemed safe. Information on the tag includes the name of the ride, the name of the inspector, the date it was inspected and whether it passed or failed.
Tips for Safe Visits to Amusement Parks and Fairs
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 24,013 injuries caused by mobile amusement park attractions were seen by hospital emergency departments in 2022 alone. Many injuries that occur on amusement park and fair rides are preventable by following simple safety guidelines.
- Respect the rules: Obey listed age, height, weight and health restrictions, and follow all directions posted on signs, given by ride operators or announced through recorded messages. These rules were created for everyone’s safety.
- Don’t pressure anybody to ride: Never force anyone, especially children, to get on attractions they don’t want to ride.
- Buckle up: Always use all safety equipment provided on rides and never attempt to get free or loosen restraints or other safety devices. Keep hands, arms, legs and feet inside rides at all times.
- Keep loose items off rides: Don’t carry loose items like wallets, glasses, cell phones or hats with you on any ride. Taking photos or video on a ride is dangerous.
- Stay seated: Remain seated in the ride until it comes to a complete stop and you are instructed to exit.
- Pace yourself: Take frequent breaks if you're riding high g-force rides, such as roller coasters. Repeated high g-force rides can result in the loss of consciousness, which can lead to serious injury.
- Stay alert: If you are injured or see any unsafe behavior or conditions on a ride, report it to an employee at the venue immediately.
Beat the Heat:
- Take breaks: Summer temperatures get hot, and you can end up walking or standing in the sun more than usual at amusements parks or fairs. Take breaks from back-to-back rides like roller coasters to avoid feeling ill. Sit down and grab a beverage if you start to feel tired.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, but don’t drink alcohol and get on rides. Getting on rides while impaired puts yourself and others at risk.
- Find first aid stations: It’s smart to know where first aid stations are located in case of an emergency.
- Make sure children know the rules: Make sure children can understand and follow safe behavior for the day, especially when on rides. If you don't think your child will be able to follow the rules for a ride, do not let them get on. Never sneak children onto rides if they are below the posted height, weight or age limits.
- Watch before you ride: Watch any rides with your child so you both know what to expect before getting on. You can also read any instruction signs aloud with your child and point out the ride operator, exit and entrance locations.
- Make sure children are seated safely: Make sure children know they must use all safety equipment on rides. Don’t assume a ride is safe for children if you hold on to them. If you hold on to your child, you can’t look after yourself, and you may both be at risk of injury.
- Have a plan in case your child gets lost: Teach children what to do if they get separated from you. Point out uniformed park employees who can help them and designate a conspicuous spot as a meeting place if your child gets lost.
New York State is home to more than 50 county and youth fairs that operate from July through the middle of September, with the Long Island Fair closing out the season. Local fairs allow visitors a chance to sample locally grown food. These events also provide an opportunity to learn about local agriculture, including where our food comes from, and how it is grown, harvested, and marketed to the public.
About the New York State Division of Consumer Protection
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides resources and education materials to consumers on product safety, as well as voluntary mediation services between consumers and businesses. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.
For more consumer protection tips, follow the Division on social media at Twitter: @NYSConsumer and Facebook: www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.