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Family days out

The weather is warmer, the Theme Parks and other activities are getting busier as everyone prepares for the summer holidays. Maybe it’s time to take the family on a day out. What could go wrong?

Hopefully nothing but for an unfortunate few it does and when it does it often means someone is injured and it results in a distressing time for everyone. Definitely not what you planned!

The owners of the place you visit have a duty to take care of you and your family but only to take reasonable steps for your safety. You cannot blame them just because the accident happened on their land so some things to watch out for:

Look out for signs that say the owners are not responsible for certain things

Sometimes they will say cars are parked at owners risk for instance. You are stuck with this. They are allowed to do it.

Some try the trick of putting up signs saying they are not responsible for any injury however caused even if caused by their negligence. They might even put this on your ticket or information you are given for your visit. They can do this if they like but this kind of warning is not valid and does not prevent a claim against them. If you are worried about this kind of restriction you can always try getting the owners to agree to change it. I once did this successfully at an indoor Laser Game centre.

Look out for ride restrictions

You know the sort of thing. This ride is not suitable for children under age of 7. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Often rides have a height measurement restriction. If you decide to take no notice of clear warning signs like this and something goes wrong, you can expect the owners and their insurance company to blame you.

Time to eat

If you go and have something to eat and slip on food just dropped on the floor by a previous customer you may be able to blame the café owners if you are hurt. It all depends how long the chips have been on the floor and whether they have a reasonable system for keeping the floor clean and safe. If you do slip, make sure you report it to the staff and ask them to complete an accident book form – be clear about what caused you to slip and request a copy of this form for your records. Remember only sign it if you are happy with what it says!

This applies to trips or slips anywhere throughout the park or attraction.

Getting help from staff

Well trained staff will be very helpful. Unfortunately they are not all like this. They may not explain the safety steps you should take or say anything about the ride restrictions. If you cannot get clear guidance about these things from someone supervising an activity ask to speak to a more senior member of staff and when you do get their full name and a clear answer to your question.

Remember many of the junior staff in theme parks and the like will have short term jobs and will move on. Your family’s safety is going to be less important to them than it is to you.

Just a few things to think about, but most importantly make sure you enjoy your day out wherever you go!

Mike Cummings (Associate)