“Roll up, roll up, for all the fun of the fair!” Children typically love the chance to go and explore the fair and try out different funfair rides. Equally appealing, and often running hand-in-hand, are carnivals. Although both can provide heaps of enjoyment and pleasure, they’re also occasions where parents need to teach children about safety issues.
Keeping Children Safe on Funfair Rides
Being at the fair can be hugely exciting for children. There’s the noise, music and sound of people enjoy the fair in the background, then bright colours and amazing rides to see all around them. It’s an exciting atmosphere, but it can also be a dangerous one.
For a start, fairs are typically busy and crowded, so if you don’t keep together as a family, children can easily become separated from the rest of the group and get lost. Just in case this does happen, it’s a good idea to agree to a meeting point at the start of your visit, so your children know where to go If They Get Lost. If it’s a static funfair at a large amusement park, then they should also have an information desk that you could use as a meeting or contact point.
When it comes to going on the rides, always adhere to the guidance on suitable ages and heights. Make sure your child is old enough or not taller (or shorter) than the maximum height recommendation before they climb aboard. If they’re nervous or you’re worried about their safety, then ride on it with them for extra security.
Get on and off quickly, so you’ve got time to step off the ride before it gears up for moving again, and so that you’ve got time to get the bar or strap down around you for safety. Carousels and other children’s rides often stop at a different place from where they started, so arrange to meet your child where they stop, otherwise it can be confusing for children to try to find you again in the crowd.
When you’re in the area around funfair rides, do be aware that there may be large cables on the ground, areas with generators and sections around the ride that you shouldn’t go near. Take care when walking around rides and don’t get too close when they’re moving.
Carnival Safety Tips
Carnivals are busy, vibrant events involving lots of people in the carnival on vehicles and on foots, plus performers and crowds watching.
If you or your children are taking part in a carnival, then care needs to be taken if riding on a lorry. The sides of lorries are normally open, so that crowds can view the scene on both sides of the road, but as the lorry moves, children can get a bit unbalanced if they’re standing up. Where possible, young children are better off sitting down, both for their own comfort and their safety.
For walking entrants, care needs to be taken to not walk too close to any vehicles. The organisers should arrange the entrants so that lorries go first, followed by walking entrants, or the other way around, but there are often still police vehicles driving slowly in the middle of the procession, so be aware of these.
When you’re watching carnivals, safety should be on your mind, too. Stand on a pavement or find a safe low wall to perch on and avoid stepping out into the road, especially when there are carnival lorries coming. Traditionally coins are thrown onto the lorry, but many events now discourage this. If you are throwing them, then don’t throw them at people.
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