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Child Safety Week 2024: funfair and playground safety

By Katrina Elsey

Published In: Personal Injury

The school summer holidays are fast approaching, and parents are being urged to take care when out and about this summer. It’s coming up to the season for families to be out enjoying funfairs, playgrounds, and trips to theme parks.

Photo of mum and toddler on a fairground ride

Child Safety Week 2024 comes as a timely reminder to make sure we’re aware of dangers, especially those that pose a severe risk to children.  

Many of us are parents ourselves, and one of our main concerns is the dangers our children face when they are out and about.

Funfair and theme park accidents

Unfortunately, we’ve worked on many injury cases involving funfairs and theme parks. We’ve seen cases of children being catapulted from rides because they weren’t properly fastened in. We’ve also dealt with accidents where children have been allowed on rides where height restrictions weren’t enforced leading to them suffering life-changing injuries.

Bystanders have also suffered injury because of operator error or inadequate ride fixings causing parts to fly off, causing significant injuries. Just recently, there was an incident involving a ‘Superstar’ ride, labelled a thrilling "whirlwind at super speed,” where a panel broke free from the fast-moving ride causing injuries to visitors.

In another incident, mum Chelsea Rogerson claimed her  children were nearly crushed to death after a ride crashed at a Yorkshire funfair. Chelsea  said she was left screaming to be released from the ride she was on with her daughter when she saw the waltzer, which her son was on, crash at Fair Ground Plus, in Cleckheaton.

Many of us enjoy the thrill of rides that give an adrenaline rush, but when we’re on such a thrill-seeking adventure we don’t really expect to be placed in danger.

Larger theme parks do tend to see fewer accidents as they’re regularly inspected by the HSE. However, the travelling funfairs are not often scrutinised to the same degree and do sometimes pose a risk of injury to visitors.

 Who’s responsible for fairground safety?

The responsibility for the safety of fairground rides and theme parks falls to the owners. The owners must, under Health and Safety law, ensure that the park, rides, or venue is safe for employees and visitors. 

 Playground accidents

We don’t just see accidents at theme parks or fairgrounds, we often see accidents at local authority run playgrounds.

 According to RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) there’s around 40,000 playground injuries each year that require hospital treatment.  The most common injuries include broken bones, sprains, bruising and head injuries.

Who’s responsible for playground safety?

While most injuries occur due to falls, poor maintenance of the area and faulty equipment can also cause injuries.

Local authorities and playground owners must comply with the law and relevant health and safety regulations. They must ensure the playgrounds are regularly checked and maintained so they’re safe for use. Manufacturers of playground equipment must also ensure their equipment is fit for purpose.

Katrina Elsey , senior associate in Switalskis personal injury team comments: “Families who visit playgrounds, theme parks and fairgrounds expect to enjoy them safely. Through my work in these types of cases I understand the physical and impact that can be caused. With the schools shortly breaking up for the summer it’s vital that ride owners and operators have conducted all the necessary checks and tests to ensure they’re safe for use and that visitors can enjoy the attractions safely.

“Lessons need to be learned from the fairground accidents we’ve seen in the media recently and I urge all fairground operators specifically to take health and safety seriously. Ride owners need to ensure rides are set up, maintained, and operated in-line with manufacturer guidance or good practice standards.”

If you’ve been injured at a funfair or theme park or in a playground, contact our personal injury experts. We’ll be happy to chat through your options with you. Call 01302 320621 or email






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Katrina has over 25 years’ experience in the legal sector. She is a Senior Associate Litigation Executive in the Personal Injury department.

Senior Associate Litigation Executive

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