Should your toddler get on the amusement park rides that are so inviting? Many parents wonder about the best age to introduce young children to the rides at theme or amusement parks that often attract children. While it may be tempting to buckle your little one for an exhilarating ride, give some thought to criteria like those outlined below to see if your child is truly ready for a mobile ride of this type:
- Is your child the right size for his or her age? Extra-small or short kids may need to wait until they grow a little more to get on rides designated for their age group. Many ride operators will check the height of children, using a predetermined measuring stick, but if not, don’t let your little one get on a ride that is actually intended for bigger children. Injury could result, otherwise.
- Does your child want to go on the ride? A toddler who appears frightened or uncertain should be permitted to wait until he or she is older. Forcing a child to go on a ride before he or she is ready is cruel and may delay a child’s adjustment to amusement park rides for years to come. It may be a good idea to take a sibling or neighborhood friend at the same time so your son or daughter can take along someone known to ease the strain of something new.
- Go with your little one. Parents should plan to ride with a small child for comfort and protection. Don’t assume that forcing a child to go alone “will make him a man” or push him to “grow up” sooner. It may cause trauma that will last for weeks in the form of nightmares or anxiety.
- Start with simple rides first. The merry-go-round or other age-appropriate rides can help to ease your child into the amusement park mentality. Seeing kids of the same age on certain rides will ease tension and encourage your child to join them for fun on a ride that should not be particularly fear inspiring.
- Make sure the ride is as safe as possible. Look for the operator’s license and the last inspection date for the ride. Watch it go through one or two cycles before buying a ticket for a particular attraction. If it appears to go too fast, or is especially jerky, it probably isn’t a good idea for a young child to get on. Little ones can experience brain damage, or headaches at the least, when their small bodies are hurled from one side of a ride to the other, or dangled upside down. Make sure the ride will not hurt your child’s physique or security.
Amusement park rides are fun for the whole family. But take special precautions to ease your little one onto his or her first ride to make it fun and memorable in a pleasant way.