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Simple Rules for a Day of Fun at the Amusement Park

March 19, 2001|EMILY DWASS

If twirling around--or upside-down--is your idea of fun, then you're probably looking forward to visiting an amusement park when the weather warms up. But keep a few common-sense tips in mind.

First, before you even leave home, slather yourself in sunscreen--even if it's a cloudy day. You're going to be outside for hours, and you don't want to end up with a bad sunburn. A hat also is a good idea (but someone should hold it while you're on rides--or you could sit on it).

The kind of clothes and shoes you wear also can make a difference in how comfortable you are. Especially important is to wear comfortable walking shoes. Amusement park visitors trek an average of three to five miles. Sneakers and socks are a better choice than sandals, which might cause blisters or a stubbed toe. And even in the spring and summer, it can be cool in the early and late hours of the day. Bring along a light jacket or sweatshirt, which you can tie around your waist when it gets warm.

Once at the park, don't get frustrated if you're not tall enough for every ride. A lot of research has gone into figuring out how big you need to be for rides, says Dana Hammontree, public relations manager at Knott's Berry Farm. The restraint systems are designed for certain weights and heights. If you're not big enough this time, be patient and look forward to seeing how much you grow by your next visit.

When you do go on a ride, follow the rules. The most important one? "Remain seated, and keep your arms and hands inside," Hammontree says.

Common-sense rules also apply for the rest of the park. Hammontree recommends that kids use the buddy system, especially when going into restrooms. Even though amusement parks are kid-friendly places, the warnings about avoiding strangers still apply. Stick with the group you came with.

If you get lost, don't panic. Instead, tell a park employee (make sure he or she is wearing a uniform and name badge). Most parks have a lost-child center, where you can be reconnected with your group.

One final tip: If you're planning on eating nachos, cotton candy, churros, hot dogs and ice cream, you might want to wait until after the roller coasters.


Emily Dwass can be reached at Kid Health runs the third Monday of the month.

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