The death of Caleb Schwab, a 10-year-old boy, who was decapitated on the world’s tallest water slide over the weekend, has revived calls for change in the amusement park industry. According to a report on TIME.com, safety advocates say the industry has been lacking federal oversight and data tracking.
Caleb died on August 7, 2016 when he was going down the 168-foot-tall Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City. Details about how the incident occurred are still sketchy. But advocates say that this horrific tragedy points to flaws in the industry that put amusement park visitors, particularly children, at risk.
Lack of Federal Oversight
Each year, about 335 million people go on 1.6 billion rides at 400 U.S. amusement parks, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). More than 85 million people visit water parks in the U.S. annually. Fatal injuries are quite rare in amusement parks, about one in 16 million.
There are no national statistics available for water park injuries, specifically, which in itself is a problem, safety advocates say. About 4,200 people were taken to emergency rooms last year alone for scrapes, concussions, broken limbs, spinal injuries and other injuries sustained on public water slides, according to the Red Cross.
Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission oversees traveling carnivals, it does not have jurisdiction over water parks in permanent locations. The problem is that there is no single federal agency responsible for enforcing rules and regulations at Schlitterbahn, which is monitored by the Department of Labor. Media reports show that the water slide had never been inspected after it opened in 2014.
Amusement parks have a duty of care to visitors and guests. They have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all guests and visitors. This responsibility includes making sure that all their rides and equipment are properly installed and maintained.
They also need to make sure that their rides are properly inspected several times a day to ensure safety for guests.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an amusement park, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled amusement park accident cases. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.