Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Unnecessary Risks: The People Who Ignore Ride Restrictions

Let me be frank: I consider myself to be open-minded. The decisions you make for yourself and your family are yours alone but I do have a limit and that's usually where safety is concerned. So when I see these (all too common) posts on Facebook groups actively encouraging a blatant disregard for ride restrictions, I get a little riled up.

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Knowing that this topic was controversial, though I don't think it ought to be given the circumstances, I wrote this post months ago and kept it nestled safely in my drafts. Why? Because I've seen the way that people react to opinions like my own. No-one wants to be told that they're doing something wrong. It's a guilt reflex, nothing more, but it can get pretty nasty and I wanted no part in that. Then when I saw yet another post on the topic just last night, I knew it was time to just get it out there regardless of the potential fallout.

So those who promote ignoring and/or manipulating ride restrictions generally fall into one of two groups, though I suspect that there are more. These are parents with children who are too short (or young) to ride and pregnant women. To be honest, both groups leave me speechless.

Again, I must stress that I try not to judge others for their personal choices but I really do have to make an exception under these circumstances.

More often than not, these people are not only sharing their own ignorance in a public forum but actively encourage others to blindly follow their lead. I'm going to sound like a total mum right now but if someone jumped off a bridge and somehow managed to not get injured, would you jump off that bridge? Of course not. They just got lucky, it doesn't mean you'd have the same good fortune.

As someone who has suffered from pregnancy loss, I'll confess to being oversensitive about taking unnecessary risks during pregnancy - but that's exactly what it is here, an unnecessary risk. Even if you've been on said ride a million times, the ride manufacturer and theme park company have ultimately deemed it unsafe to ride while pregnant so why risk it?

I've seen several women respond to these posts about riding while pregnant and share that they did so and shortly afterwards, suffered a loss. These women get attacked with a tenacity unlike anything I've ever seen - it's absolutely shocking. It's rare to be able to pinpoint the exact cause of a miscarriage so sure they can't say it was definitely caused by their rollercoaster fun but it could have been the definitive reason. Side note: it's not "scare-mongering" to share your personal experience, just FYI.

And don't even get me started on those who preach that it's not "safe" to announce a pregnancy until the end of the first trimester but would happily take a very real physical risk both to them and their unborn child.

As for the parents who find ways to boost their child's height... Well. I'm a parent. I get that it's disappointing for your kid to not be able to ride and I get that you just want to have some fun too but that's where my empathy for you ends.

Height restrictions normally correlate to the minimum requirements for safety restraints to fit properly and if those restraints don't fit right then you're automatically at a greater risk of injury and not only that, you're putting others at risk too. Again, those restrictions usually come directly from the manufacturer because they understand the safety perimeters of the attraction that they've created. You don't. The restrictions are in place for your own health and safety so again, is it really worth the risk?

I could go away and research incidents in theme parks where children have been flung from rides because they were too small for the restraints but I won't because I don't have the stomach for it. Do you? 

Would you still be willing to cheat the system for a two minute ride if it was going to be your child you saw fall from a ride? Or if you knew that you would lose your baby within a matter of hours or days? Because if you're willing to manipulate the system for your own benefit, then that's something you need to actually think about. Sometimes the what ifs need to overpower the why nots.

So that's my opinion on this (bizarrely and unnecessarily) controversial topic. If you're interested in reading more opinion pieces, check out my take on the childless millennials at Disney debate.

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*Featured Image by Rodolfo Marques on Unsplash
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