Terrifying Ordeal: 3-Year-Old Thrown From Amusement Park Ride

houston rodeoHere’s one of those horrifying stories that I can only handle because of the non-horrifying outcome. A 3-year-old girl visited a Houston rodeo and carnival last week and decided to take a turn on the Techno Jump Ride. She hopped on next to her brother, who’s 8 years old, as their mother watched from the ground. (Interestingly, the mother decided she didn’t want to ride along just moments before it began.) Next think you know, the ride begins and the little girl gets thrown from her seat onto a metal platform below.

For those wondering I know I was each seat on the ride has a lap bar and restraining belt. The ride also has a height requirement, which the girl met. And RodeoHuston officials said the ride had passed inspection on Tuesday, just one day before this horrible incident occurred. According Leroy Shafer, COO of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, it looks as if “the girl decided to crawl out to get back to her mother.” He also said that once she hit the grown, she “immediately jumped up and started running to find her mother.” (Heartbreaking!)

Fortunately and miraculously the girl suffered only contusions on her face and head. According to KHOU TV, a CAT scan and x-ray at the Texas Children’s Hospital showed no serious injuries. Luckily, the ride had just started and hadn’t gained any height; I shudder to think of the outcome had this whole thing gone down just moments later.

Some people are criticizing the girl’s mother for allowing her daughter to go on the ride without her. Clearly, the girl’s 8-year-old brother couldn’t restrain her, and now rodeo officials have decided to require adult supervision for Techno Jump riders who are shorter than 4 feet but taller than 42 inches.

I’ve already freaked out one colleague with this tale, who’s planning to take her own 3-year-old to Disney World later this year. Of course, incidents like these are rare, but I think they remind us all to do what feels right when it comes to amusement-park rides (no matter what the official “rules” may be). And when unsure, to skip the whole thing altogether.

(Photo: chron.com; Video: abcnews.com)

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