Safest Riding Position for Kids

young boys riding amusement ride in proper safety positionKids need a stable riding position to safely handle the motion and intensity of amusement rides

  • In general, the safest way for kids to ride is in a seated position with feet braced on the floor and hands holding on. Think of it as the five points of attachment:  butt on the seat, both feet on the floor and both hands holding on.
  • Teach your children to ride this way when they’re little and they’re likely to be safer riders as teens. While children are still young, though, it’s the parent’s job to make sure that kids stay safely positioned until the ride is over and it’s safe to get off.

Kids who are too small to reach the bracing points or fit securely in the restraint should ride with an adult

  • Family rides where small children sit with dangling legs offer less stability for tots. If the ride has bench seats, parents can ride next to young children to make sure they don’t slide or tumble into an unsafe position.
  • Carousel horses deserve special mention in this category. Despite the leisurely pace, there can be a significant fall height and the slippery fiberglass horses aren’t the most stable platform for very young children. Parents should board with toddlers, even if an additional ticket is required, and stand next to their child’s horse.
  • Hands-on supervision is always best for toddlers, no matter how tame the ride looks.

Children should sit on the seat, not on your lap

  • Never seat your child in your lap on an amusement unless the ride operator explicitly tells you it’s safe to do so.
  • If the ride has restraints, lap riding could cause the bar or belt to put too much pressure on your child’s small body.
  • If the ride doesn’t have restraints, the extra elevation provided by your lap may put your child in a position where an unexpected twist or turn could cause the child to slip out of your hands and out of the car.

Choose rides with restraints that fit your kids securely

  • The Goldilocks effect, where the one-size-fits all seats and restraints of a family ride are built large to accommodate adults, can leave small children under-protected.
  • If your child’s feet can’t reach the floor, he won’t be able to brace himself properly against changes in direction or speed.
  • If your little Goldilocks winds up on a ride where the restraints are sized for Papa Bear, she may slide into an unsafe position due to centrifugal force, or a sudden change in speed or direction.


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