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New York State Department of Labor

New York State Highlights Safety Guidelines for Amusement Parks and Traveling Carnivals

Labor Department Encourages Parents and Youth to Follow Ride Safety Guidelines; Department Also Monitors Venues for Compliance with Labor Laws

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Albany, NY (May 27, 2011) -

As the amusement park season begins this Memorial Day weekend, the New York State Department of Labor reminds all New Yorkers of the importance of following basic safety guidelines on rides at amusement parks and traveling carnivals.

The Department of Labor's park safety web site - www.ridesafeny.com - 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 to report unsafe conditions.

The Labor Department enforces amusement ride safety throughout the state, except in New York City, where it is the responsibility of the NYC Department of Buildings. It inspects rides at stationary parks at least once a year, and at traveling carnivals or fairs every time a ride is set up in a new location. Last year, the department inspected more than 1,565 venues and 11,227 amusement devices.

The agency's Division of Labor Standards also monitors amusement parks, fairs and carnivals throughout the state to ensure compliance with New York State labor laws. Minimum wage in New York State is $7.25 per hour. For most occupations, employees must be paid overtime after 40 hours of work in a week at 1 ½ times their hourly rate of pay.

The Department of Labor offers consumers the following ride 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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