Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

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New York State Announces Efforts to Ensure Amusement Park Safety
Agency Encourages Parents and Youth to Follow Ride Safety Guidelines and Visit Web Site

Albany, NY (May 22, 2009) - At a press conference today at Hoffman’s Playland in Latham, New York, State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith described the efforts the Department of Labor is undertaking to ensure amusement park safety, and she reminded all New Yorkers to follow basic safety guidelines so they can gain the most enjoyment from rides at amusement parks and traveling carnivals. Commissioner Smith was joined at the press conference by Mindy Bockstein, Chairperson and Executive Director of the Consumer Protection Board, and Glen Kewley, General Manager of Hoffman’s Playland. “As Memorial Day approaches this coming weekend, we mark the beginning of summer. Governor Paterson wants to encourage all New Yorkers and those visiting our great state to enjoy the holiday, but also to be safe at New York’s wide variety of amusement parks, fairs and carnivals” said Commissioner Smith. “We also continue to increase inspections as rides are in use to make sure that ride operators are following proper procedures.”

“Consumers play an important role in safety, too,” the Commissioner added. “To help increase public awareness, last year we launched a park safety web site – By following rules and regulations, and exercising common sense, we all help to make New York’s warm-weather attractions a fun, safe experience for everyone.”

The web site – – offers parents and children helpful tips on ride safety, along with a directory of amusement parks in New York State. The site also makes it simple to e-mail the Department of Labor to report unsafe conditions.

“As we begin the summer season, I am pleased to join with Commissioner Smith in highlighting amusement park safety,” said Mindy A. Bockstein, Chairperson and Executive Director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board. “Working with the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission and the State’s Department of Labor, the Consumer Protection Board is raising awareness about amusement park, carnival, fair and playground safety to help protect consumers. New Yorkers of all ages need to know that they can count on the State to keep them safe while they play.”

The State Department of Labor enforces amusement ride safety throughout the state, except in New York City. Labor Department staff inspect all rides at stationary parks at least once a year, and they inspect rides at traveling carnivals or fairs every time the ride is set up in a new location. A ride cannot legally operate without a permit from the Labor Department.

Last year, the department inspected more than 1,400 venues and more than 7,000 amusement park devices.

The Department of Labor offers consumers the following safety guidelines:


  • Listen to the ride operator’s instructions.
  • Read and follow posted warnings and instructions.
  • Keep hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving.
  • Don’t reach toward fences or barriers.
  • Secure loose clothing and long hair.
  • Don’t drink and ride. You put yourself and others at risk.
  • Don’t stand or attempt to leave a ride until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Check restraining devices to make sure they are properly latched. Avoid horseplay; it’s dangerous. Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator.

Parents with children:

  • Don’t assume a ride is safe for children if you hold on to them. If you hold on to your child, you aren’t looking after yourself, and both of you could be at risk.
  • Parents should never ride go-carts or bumper cars with children on their laps.
  • Observe age, height and weight restrictions.
  • Talk to children so they know what to expect of the ride.
  • If your child gets scared, ask (if possible) that the ride be stopped.
  • If your child is afraid of the ride, it’s probably best not to put her or him on it.
  • Not all rides are appropriate for all children, even if they do meet the height requirements. As a parent, you know your child’s ability to follow instructions.
  • Water rides require additional attention.
  • Walk, don’t run on pool decks and surroundings.
  • On water slides, follow instructions and leave the pool area at the bottom quickly. Always slide feet first; sliding head first is a major cause of head and neck injuries.
  • Use flotation devices when needed.

For more information, visit the Department of Labor’s web site at, and visit the web site Further information may be found on the Consumer Protection Board’s web site at


The Department of Labor has made video footage of ride safety inspections available in mpeg-2 format. The file size is approximately 165MB. Click here to download the video. (You may prefer to right-click and “save target as” to download the file to your computer.)

The following photos are also available in jpeg format:
Roller coaster inspection
Safety harness inspection
Safety sign