Houston Carnival Accident Raises Questions About Safety

The recent accident of a 3 year old girl at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Carnival raises questions not only about the safety of amusement park rides, but about the responsibility of parents and ride operators in letting small children go on these rides. Accusations of fault and irresponsibility are being thrown back and forth, and the central issue remains: who is telling the truth?

What is a definite is that the girl fell from the ride and was injured. She was transported to the hospital, where it was confirmed that she hadn't been injured seriously.

Her mother was not on the ride with the girl; the 3 year old was sitting with her 8 year old brother.

She fell out of the ride after it started. Witnesses say she was flung out, the carnival says she was trying to get off the ride to reach her mother.

Carnival officials say she was over the minimum height requirement and both she and her brother were buckled in and the lap bar was in place.

That night, carnival officials made it mandatory  that children who are over the minimum height requirement be accompanied by an adult on all rides. This change in rules post-incident suggests the carnival is liable for allowing a 3 year old on a ride, accompanied by her 8 year old brother but not by an adult, and that it is attempting to protect itself after the fact.

It's a good rule, but shouldn't it already have been in place? From another perspective, shouldn't parents be accompanying their children on rides anyway? Would you let your three year old on a ride that is designed to frighten its riders?

Who is telling the truth? Why does the carnival have a different story than the witnesses? It is becoming more difficult to believe the carnival when a bystander captured the accident on a cellphone video.

VB Attorneys are familiar with the lengths taken in order to keep amusement park and carnival rides running.

It is the ride operator's goal is to profit off the ride and will often keep them running in spite of mechanical difficulties or instances where safety equipment is known not to function. We represented a person who was thrown out of an amusement park ride and seriously injured due to a faulty lap bar.  

That case hinged on the fact that the ride's maintenance workers and operators knew the equipment was faulty but the operators did nothing to fix it. Just because the problem is documented, the operator is not necessarily going to fix the ride.

In the 3 year old's case, there are questions to be answered:

- just because a child meets the height requirement, should he or she be allowed to be on the ride, or should there be a minimum age limit as well?
- Shouldn't carnival rides follow stricter safety codes for its equipment and for who is allowed to ride?
- Who's fault is it when a child falls out? The parent's? The carnival's? The child's?

To learn more about faulty safety equipment in amusement park and carnival rides, read this case report about it and watch this interview with our attorney about the dangers of carnival rides.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an amusement park accident, learn your rights. Contact VB Attorneys at (877) 224-7800.