Illinois Department of Labor to Conduct Amusement Ride Safety Inspections at Illinois State Fair

SPRINGFIELD, IL — In anticipation of the kick off of the Illinois State Fair, the Illinois Department of Labor’s Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Division will begin conducting routine inspections of all amusement rides and attractions and for the duration of the fair.

IDOL inspects all rides and attractions that are open to the public at least once a year.  Amusement Ride and Attraction Inspectors conduct nearly 4,000 ride inspections at stationary parks, traveling carnivals or fairs throughout the state.  The Department issues permits to operate only after an inspection determines the ride or attraction meets safety requirements.

The Department recommends the following tips on how to stay safe while having fun:

  • You know your child best; watch before you ride.
    • While your child may be tall enough to ride an amusement ride, the ride still may not be appropriate for him or her. Before you put your child on a ride, please watch it first before allowing your child to go on the ride. That way, your child will see what to expect of the ride.
  • Don’t put children on rides they are afraid of.
    • Some children are afraid of heights, some are afraid of the dark and others have trouble staying seated. Make sure to tell your child not to try to get off the ride, even if he or she becomes afraid. If your child gets scared, ask the operator to stop the ride.
  • Follow minimum height, age, weight and health restrictions – they are in place for your safety.
    • Read the warning sign aloud with your child and point out the ride operator and the exit and entrance locations.
  • Keep small children away from the open side of a ride.
    • Always seat children in the inner area of a ride, away from any doors or openings.
  • Watch your child if or he or she is being seated/assisted by a ride assistant.
    • Illinois law requires owners to conduct criminal/sex offender background checks on all ride operators and assistants; however, it’s best to watch your child when he or she is getting on and off the ride to ensure they are safe.
  • Always use the ride’s safety equipment – seatbelts, lap bars, etc. – but be aware of their limitations.
    • A lap bar, for example, may not be able to prevent a small child from sliding around on the seat and would put the child at risk of falling out.
  • Tell children to keep their heads, hands, feet and arms inside the ride.
    • Listen for operator instructions about maintaining safety while on the ride.
  • Don’t assume a ride is safe for children if you hold on to them.
    • If you hold on to your child, you can’t look after yourself, and you may put both you and your child at risk.
  • Teach children what to do if they become separated from you.
    • Point out uniformed park employees who can help them and designate a conspicuous spot as a meeting place. Write your mobile number on a small piece of paper for the child in case heor she gets lost so an adult assisting them can contact you.
  • Be sure your child is dressed for safety.

Make sure your child wears closed-toed shoes or sneakers and avoids wearing any loose clothing and jewelry. Be sure to tie long hair.