Height Restriction Scenario

Tuesday, March 4, 2003 7:23 PM
Hey guys. As some of you know, I'm presently a ride op on one of the countries best floorless coasters (or in some cases, the best floorless coaster), Kraken. Recently, we have had a few of the following scenarios go through our ride, and the issue is currently being brought up with the park supervsiors. I just wanted your insight on the scenario:

A child comes up to ride the ride, the 'greeter' (person out front of ride) measures the child, and explains to both the parents and the child that they are 1" too small and cannot ride the ride. Now both you and I know that only 1" is not going to effect the person's safety on this ride, but a rule is a rule. Ok...so the child comes back later in the day wearing a different pair of shoes; clearly not their own. Now they make the height restriction and are able to ride. In one particular instance, the boy was wearing his mom's shooes that had a 1" heal on them. Now according to Sea World, BEC says that we are to measure the child as provided. That basically means that if they hit the bar, they can ride. However, the child was already measured once and failed to meet the restriction. But now it's ok for him to ride? What are your feelings on this?

I feel that they shouldn't be able to ride even if it's their first time being measured and they are wearing shoes that clearly aren't theirs. Oh, and just FYI, all the kids this year that have done this, have been able to ride the ride and were approved by leads.

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"...they came like a winged curse. A twin plague of demonic dragons!" - Dueling Dragons

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Tuesday, March 4, 2003 8:02 PM
If the rules state that if someone makes the height requirement "in shoes", I dont see what the problem is.and you should let them ride even though you knew the same said child was measured before.

While it is strange that a mother would put her son in high heels, it still follows within the rules.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Tuesday, March 4, 2003 8:16 PM
From what you've said of Sea World's rules, the child should technically be allowed to ride, however wrong that may seem.

The easiest way to avoid such a problem would be to adopt a policy similar to Cedar Fair's, where the park reserves the right to measure a child without shoes.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2003 8:31 PM
At SFEG we cannot ask them to take their shoes off, but I have been given the ok to measure from the level the foot would be if it is painfully obvious that their height has been increased by the shoes. Sure, some people don't like it, but I can gurantee that they would be a lot more unhappy in the unlikely event that something did happen.

As I have said before, sometimes it seems that a parent would rather feel they got their money's worth out of a park admission than make sure their child is safe. Sometimes I wonder why they only job in this country that you don't have to be quualified for is parenting. Oh well, just some food for thought.

While it doesn't sound like you can do anything about it now, if I were you I would suggest the measuring from the actual level of the foot or seeing if you can get the OK to remove shoes. Good Luck! It seems like you are genuinely worried about the safety of guests, and that is a good thing in a ride operator.

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"Look out kid. It's something you did. God knows when but you're doin' it again." -Bob Dylan
*** This post was edited by Mustang 3/5/2003 1:35:19 AM ***

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Tuesday, March 4, 2003 9:23 PM
Height Restrictions- one of the hardest parts of being a ride op. I hate to turn people away, and believe me- they hate it as well, lol. But rules are rules and they aren't to the line- they don't ride, bottom line.

However, your situation with the shoes is interesting. I haven't encountered anything like that. In fact, my experience with shoes has been with people that are too tall to ride and want to take their shoes off.

IMO, that isn't fair because they have to wear shoes on the ride, so its not right for them to be checked without them on.

And for being to short, I suppouse that if they did that, I would have no choice but to approve it. Its a horribly stupid thing, but at the same time, there isn't anything against doing such a thing.

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Xcelerator- Put the Pedal to the Metal!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2003 10:54 PM
I see this all the time at Dragons and the park deals with it the same way as Sea World. This to me is one of the strangest things that parents come up with. Manufacturers and park management set these rules for a reason that being there upper bodies don't fit in the over the shoulder harnesses. Here in Florida I guess they have different laws or something because the come back too short and now right on it kids are allowed on no matter what. I have dealt with this and watched parents outside of the entrance give the kids there shoes to wear, only exception at Dragons is if they are slip on shoes they have to be worn at all times if they use them to meet the requirement....and we do check this.

While working two seasons at cedar point there was problems with this as well but once they were checked one way that was it. I watched a woman one day stuff her childs shoes with paper towels right in front of me after I told her that her child did not reach the 48 inch requirement of Bluestreak....I notified security about this problem and they tossed the family out of the park after observing her doing this and checking the shoes on the child.

I look at it this way, the ride operator can only do so much if they are not guided in the right way with management. I always tell parents that this ride is 54 inches no matter what but quests don't think about the dangers in a park when they are only there to have fun!

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If you don't know a thing about rollercoasters, don't stand in line in front of me and act like you do!

Jamin
-Dueling Dragons '02
-Millennium Force '01
-Bluestreak '00

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 1:40 AM
Thank god for height restriction margins. I feel that it should be a rule that a child must wear its own shoes. When in doubt, the child should be measured without shoes.

A rule is a rule, and if it states that a child should be measured as presented, there's nothing you can do about it.

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Dutch Coastin' :: European coasters, thrills and theming!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 4:51 AM
Here's an idea for you guys to ponder over:

What if as a child enters the park, he or she is measured then, and given a colored bracelet to wear to let the ride ops know instantly if they are tall enough. Then now matter what shoes they are wearing, their bracelet color will show they are not tall enough.

Just an idea, now off to class

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 5:20 AM
That's a good idea, and apparently Cedar Fair thinks so too, as it's already in their park policy. Though I've never seen it used at any of their parks, apparently an "official measurement" can be obtained. Here's the exact policy from the Cedar Point website, which also includes the shoe information.

To save time at ride entrances, a child may be "officially" measured (and receive a wristband if they meet height requirements) at Park Operations, Resort Entrance Gate and Town Hall. For the safety of your child, a standard play shoe which does not contribute excessively to the child's height will be permitted. Platform shoes, for example, are not permitted to be worn to help a child meet a height requirement. Cedar Point reserves the right to ask that shoes be removed to ensure that a child's height is not being artificially enhanced or manipulated.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 5:48 AM
They have the same policy at SFGAm but its only optional.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 5:53 AM
Brian, I dont think there is a park chain that exsits that does not already offer this option. I've seen the bands @ CP, SFGAm and many others. I remember a big news item here about Disney doing something similar as well (though of course they had to make it unnecessarily complicated).

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"I will break away, I'll find myself today"

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 6:09 AM
I like the wrist band policy, but some people don't use them. Also, I have personally had to deal with kids who change their shoes, and I refuse to let them ride. If they complain, I just call my supervisor and let them deal with it. If my supe let's them ride, I refuse to actually operate the ride until they get off. That way if something does happen, I can not be held responsible.

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St. Louis Blues hockey RULES!!!

Greatest theme park ride: Steam train

May the Tommy G. Robertson live forever.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 6:50 AM
It's not being subordinate when policy states that if an I feel that the safety of anyone is compromised one way or the other, that I have the option of denying them access onto the ride. To me, it's no different than if you get someone violating any other park policies. Besides, I've never had to worry about that b/c my supes all back me up on those sorts of calls. Also, if you knowingly operate a ride in a situation like that, you can be held responsible. Just remember the lawsuit happy society we live in today.

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St. Louis Blues hockey RULES!!!

Greatest theme park ride: Steam train

May the Tommy G. Robertson live forever.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 6:51 AM
About the wristband color coded height restriction policy:I know that PKD has been using such a system for a few years now.

Guests may obtain the wristbands along with a list of rides/attractions that they meet the restrictions for,the service is provided somewhere along international street & is free to all guests who are unsure of their overall height or that of their kids & I'd say it's a good idea because it can reduce the wait times at rides & save staff the frustration of having to argue with a young guests parents over the reasons why their child cannot ride.

Now if only SFA can adopt such a policy then it would improve things there greatly,I've seen quite a few arguements break out between parents & ride ops over their kids being unable to ride due to being so much as an inch under the minimum safety requirements for any given attraction.

One note of interest however is just how are the height restrictions determined? do parks set them based on the nature of an individual ride or do they follow manufacturer's guidelines based on the ride type & vehicle design?

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 6:53 AM
Okay when I was younger I would always be 3/4 to 1/2 of an inch too short to ride rides. When I was supposed to be 54 IN. tall I was 53 and 1/2 when I was supposed to be 52 I was 51 and 1/2. When I was supposed to be 48 in I was 47 and 1/3 you get the point so my parents would just buy me shoes that had large heals and then just in case we would put heal inserts in. Since my shoes always fitted comfotably and I didn't have to take them off so I don't really see what's the big deal if they were like my case. Because I rode Boomerang when I was just under 48. I rode an S and S tower when I was just under 52 and I rode the Hulk and Dueling Dragons when I was just under 54.
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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 6:56 AM
On another note, the wristbands can also,backfire if you have idiots giving them out. I had a situation a couple of years ago. I was operating our bumper cars which have the same height restriction to drive them as a couple of our big coasters. Ops at one of the coasters were handing out bands but not really checking. I had numerous kids come through who were tall enough to ride, but not tall enough to drive. I had to take off their wristbands and give them the correct ones. It got so bad , I had to start calling, my supe and relaying the info I got from the children.

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St. Louis Blues hockey RULES!!!

Greatest theme park ride: Steam train

May the Tommy G. Robertson live forever.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 7:09 AM
Height requirements are a pain in the neck (and other places), and I would very much like to see ride restrictions go beyond height requirements and some of the other restrictions we see on rides.

What I mean is, I think each ride should have a specific set of criteria to determine whether a person can ride, and I think the ride operators need to be fully informed about the criteria and able to make the final decision as to whether a person can ride based on those criteria.

For example, I was riding the Big Dipper at Camden Park. Many small children were riding. The ride has a height requirement, but the operator didn't have a height stick. Instead, he had the maybe-too-short kids sit in the train and he checked to make sure that they could sit back in the seat and still have their legs bend at the knees. Instead of checking their height, he checked the specific parameter that is critical for a rider on that particular coaster.

The thing is, there is no magical transformation when a kid goes from 47" to 48" or from 53" to 54" or whatever. Because rider proportions are similar, the height requirement is a useful measurement because if someone makes the height requirement, you can be 95% certain* that he can ride safely. But when the person is close, there ought to be fall-back criteria so that the operator can judge with some accuracy whether the borderline kid can or cannot ride safely.

Obviously it isn't practical to do that in a lare, busy park for every underheight kid. But when a kid is close, or when a kid undergoes a miraculous midday growth spurt, there needs to be a way to judge accurately whether the kid is OK or not, and it needs to be based on the ride's actual operating characteristics.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

* Most rides are built for the 95th percentile adult...

--DCAjr
(edit: forgot the @$%& footnote!)
*** This post was edited by RideMan 3/5/2003 2:27:37 PM ***

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Wednesday, March 5, 2003 10:28 AM
I think parks do the best they can and height requirements are just the method they most commonly used. Once you sit down your height doesn't really make as big a difference as your torso length(at least on OTS restraints). Someone reasonably close to the requirement might actually be safer than someone that meets it due to torso length or body size overall.

I've seen 54" tall kids that are skin and bones and others a little shorter that have a bigger build. I would think that the bigger kid would be more secure in the ride as there is less"wiggle room". Anyway, if the height requirement was an absolute in regards to safety Disney would have 50 lawsuits a day as tons of kids too short to ride slip through the cracks.

There is no perfect system to ensure safety but most parks do the best they can in enforcing the rules that have been created. The line has to drawn somewhere.

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