Theme Parks, State Fairs, Carnivals - Oh My!
Every summer each small town that made up the rural area I lived in held their own weekend long carnival. They all began with a parade of fire trucks, high school sports teams, and marching bands, and they ended with raffles and baked good sales. What happened in the evenings in between caused many arguments in my house growing up. I was allowed to go to the local carnivals with my friends to eat funnel cake and try to win goldfish in little bowls, but I was not allowed to go on the rides. Once I was a teenager it wasn't an issue because the girls I was with just wanted to walk around and look for boys, but when I was a little kid, I was very angry that I couldn't ride carnival rides.
My parents always told me that temporary rides were simply unsafe and that if I wanted to go on rides, they would take us to a permanent theme park where the rides were much safer. Whether or not that's true, it's the belief that now guides my own parental decision making. There are far fewer carnivals and fairs here in the suburbs of Washington, DC, but when we do visit temporary events, the kids are only allowed to go on small rides that clearly don't pose any danger. So far they have not complained, but they're only five and seven years old. I'm sure that when they get older, they'll begin to beg to go on the bigger rides just as I did.
Thankfully, we do spend a lot of time as a family visiting permanent theme parks such as Hersheypark, Dutch Wonderland, and Walt Disney World. Despite the fact that some people believe regularly inspected carnival rides are safer than occasionally inspected theme park rides, that is stil the rule that is working for us.
How do you feel about allowing your children to ride temporary rides?