Two Theme Park Injuries Take Place in the Same Week

In the span of just two days, two horrifying incidents occurred, both of which serve as grave reminders of the importance of adhering to theme park safety protocols. The first accident occurred at a water park, when 10-year-old Caleb Thomas Schwab was killed on a water slide in Kansas City. The second accident involved a 3-year-old Pennsylvanian boy, who remains hospitalized after falling from a wooden roller coaster at the Idlewild / SoakZone amusement park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Before we analyze the particulars of these separate but similarly distressing events, it’s important to reflect both on the fragility of human life and the dire importance of doing everything we can to keep our children safe. In this article, we will discuss some safety tips and behaviors that we implore you to learn and put into practice. By being prepared, and remaining vigilant, we can hopefully reduce the likelihood of injury to our children.


What Happened?

In the Kansas City incident, Caleb Thomas Schwab, the 10-year-old son of state lawmaker Scott Schwab, died after sustaining a catastrophic neck injury on a water slide called “Verruckt.” This 168-foot-tall water slide, the tallest in the world, features two precipitous drops. Reports vary, but unconfirmed sources speculate that the Velcro strap designed to hold Caleb in place may have malfunctioned, leading to him being jettisoned from the water slide’s raft. Another possible cause for the accident may have been that the weight limit was not met. Each raft requires a 400lb. load in order to operate safely. When Caleb and his brother, Nate, tried to ride together, they were told that they were too light to reach this minimum. Caleb was paired, instead, with two adult females.

In the Pennsylvania incident, a 3-year-old boy was injured when he was thrown from a wooden coaster. Luckily, this coaster reaches a top speed of only 25mph, and the boy survived the ordeal. However, at the behest of his family, his condition has not been disclosed. He has not yet been released from the hospital he was taken to after the accident.


Common Amusement Park and Water Slide Injuries

Here are some common injuries experienced by those visiting amusement / water parks:


  • Neck injuries resulting from bumper car collisions or the high-force whipping / spinning of other assorted coasters / rides.
  • When the human body is subjected to high G-forces, traumatic brain injuries may sometimes result. Brain aneurysms, for example, have been suffered by thrill-seekers while riding high-speed coasters.
  • Pulled / torn muscles and ligaments in the neck or back and/or broken bones.
  • Head or back injuries due to improperly fastened harnesses or from the general turbulence of rides.


Broken bones / lacerations from slipping on water on OR off rides and / or slides. Abrasions from friction on water slides. Drowning-related accidents.


How to Stay Safe at Theme Parks

  • The most important thing to remember when attending an amusement or water park is to pay diligent attention to all posted rules. Most parks have abundant signage which dictates the proper ways in which to behave, and adhering to these rules will help keep you safe.
  • Always follow the directives of park employees thoroughly. These employees have been trained on the particularities of the rides you’ll enjoy, and heeding their advice is extremely important.
  • Do not venture into any guarded or fenced-off areas. Countless injuries have been incurred by park-goers who seek to retrieve dropped items in restricted areas. By nature, roller coasters are fast and unpredictable. Placing yourself in their flight path is an extremely hazardous and unwise thing to do.
  • When seated on a ride, always make sure your seat belt is properly secured. If you believe your seat belt or harness system to be loose or inadequately locked-in, be sure to alert a ride attendant.
  • Always ride water slides as-prescribed. Do not ride headfirst or prone on slides designed to be enjoyed in the traditional back-down, feet-first position. Do not abandon your inner tube on rides designed to be traversed by tube. Failure to adhere to proper form is a common cause of injury in water parks. This applies to roller coasters as well. Do not stick your extremities out unnecessarily when riding roller coasters, or position yourself in a way that is not advised by the staff.
  • Water parks and amusement parks are often heavily exposed to sunlight. Make sure to drink plenty of water, take frequent respites in the shade, and try not to physically overexert yourself. This will help you avoid fainting or succumbing to other dangerous afflictions, such as sun stroke.

Kaplan Lawyers PC

The incidents we discussed today were particularly horrific. It is rare that such accidents occur, and overwhelmingly tragic when they do. However, more pedestrian accidents take place at amusement and water parks all of the time. If you or a loved one has been hurt at an amusement or water park, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today. We can help you win the compensation you deserve. As you recover from your injuries, we believe it’s important that you’re kept financially secure, and if negligence or oversight on the part of park staff or engineers is to blame for your injury, you should not be made responsible for paying off expensive hospital bills. For more information, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today to schedule a free and easy consultation. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys are ready and eager to start fighting for you.