Tips for Implementing “Sensibility” When Parenting

by Neha Sareen

To my great dismay, I read of yet another child death at a theme park. A three year old boy died at the Go Bananas theme park in Illinois this past month. The child was sitting at the front of the Python Pit roller coast, and while the ride was moving, he slipped out of the ride’s safety restraint and fell to the ground.

Naturally, litigation is following. While the parents are bringing a wrongful death suit against Go Bananas, an onlooker is suing for emotional distress. What is likely to result is a settlement where Go Bananas pays both parties a specific monetary amount to end the litigation. Although no monetary amount can take the place of a loved child, it may bring the parties some relief.

The first thing that shocked me was why a three year old was allowed to be on a roller coaster in the first place. Apparently the boy met the requirements to go on the ride. Despite this, as we now see, those requirements were not sufficient to protect the boy’s life. Although the parents are accusing Go Bananas of being careless by not stopping the ride when it was evident that their son was having difficulty with his safety restraint, Go Bananas is not the true culprit. Authorities found no mechanical issues with the ride, nor any careless conduct on the part of the ride operator. Many people are in fact pointing their fingers at the boy’s parents.

It is no secret that parents need to use sensibility while parenting. Although many parents recognize this, very few truly practice it. Below are some sensible tips for parents when their children are at theme parks:

1. Although a child may meet the requirements to sit on a ride, parents need to be critical and not rely on the assurance signs or ride operators.

2. For the sake of being extra careful and critical, parents should research on how theme parks formulate the requirements to ride roller coasters such as the Python Pit. Additionally, parents should keep in mind that a theme park is a business. The goal is to increase ticket sales by wanting people to go inside on the rides. There is an economic gain in mind that drives most decisions, such as setting requirements for theme park rides. Therefore, it is likely that the ride requirements established are the bare minimum safety requirement. Parents should not let their children go on rides where such a low standard of care is used.

3. Additionally, parents need to evaluate the safety restraints in rides. They should compare the safety restraint’s capabilities with the body size of their child and make a reasonable evaluation as to whether or not their child will be saved if an unfortunate situation was to occur.

4. Lastly, parents should research the environments their children will be in. For instance, Go Bananas had many lawsuits pending prior to the boy’s death. With the help of some research and simple googling, parents can find out whether or not theme parks have been subject to many suits due to unfortunate incidents. If so, then parents will know to avoid such environments.

Although theme park-type-businesses have the responsibility for ensuring safety, parents should not rely on other individuals or businesses when it comes to the safety of their children. Parents, please remember to be diligent, use common sense, and be critical by doing some relevant research. With such easy steps, unfortunate incidents can easily be avoided.

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Author Bio

Neha Sareen is a second year law student studying in San Francisco, CA. Neha Sareen is a regular contributor to LegalMatch and the LegalMatch Law Blog.

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