Not all amusement park First Aid are created equally

As the mother of two little boys, I have had more than my share of emergency room visits. Whenever we go on vacation, I secretly hope and pray that we will not need to call our doctor, visit an emergency room or require a prescription medication. Our boys have tested this several times. At my brother’s wedding, NHL was very sick and nearly had to go to the ER.

Of course, JSL the over achieving little brother, who must always top his big brother (be it febrile seizures or trips to the ER) taught us something else in February. While at Disney World on our family vacation part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebrations (#DisneySMMoms), he got hurt twice (about the incidents from TechyDad). Thanks to the injury, our family visited Disney World First Aid twice. We now know the care that we received at Disney went above and beyond other amusement park First Aid. Here is a summary of the February incidents:

Injury #1: We were in Animal Kingdom and JSL was wandering around following NHL. He was getting tired and slipped on his own two feet. He face-planted right onto the concrete below him. He was hysterical and I immediately saw his forehead swelling. Lucky for us, the Animal Kingdom (and all Disney Parks) has First Aid stations clearly marked. We were able to follow the signs right to where we needed to go. We signed in and the EMT helped us assess the injury. He was great talking with us and getting us several ice packs to reduce the swelling on JSL’s head. We went on our way and thanks to that gentleman, JSL eventually kept the pack of ice on for a long time.

Animal Kingdom First Aid

Injury #2: While I was at the DisneySMMoms breakfast, I received a text from TechyDad. He wanted me to know that JSL had gotten hurt. My heart sank and I did not know what to do. Eventually, I found out that he had fallen out of our rental stroller head first onto the marble floor at the Polynesian Resort. The Cast Members within the Polynesian were awesome. They gave TechyDad ice for the injury and asked if he needed anything else. They also took information about us down. TechyDad opted to take JSL to EPCOT, where I was located and have him checked at their First Aid. He did not feel that a concussion was involved and likely looked worse than it was since it was the same spot. First Aid at EPCOT was great and reassuring to hubby. Later that night, when we arrived back into our room at the Polynesian Resort, the phone was flashing. On the phone was a message from the manager of the resort. He wanted to see how JSL was doing. A phone number was given and told to call at any time if we needed anything else. Kudos to Disney for amazing follow through!

Although I was impressed at the time with Disney’s clearly marked First Aid areas and EMT workers, along with supervisors that follow-up, it did not register until recently. I guess I assumed that all amusement park First Aid would be the same. Please insert me slapping myself in the head for being naive. SERIOUSLY!

On June 19, we were using our season passes for our local amusement park. We were having an amazing time. TechyDad and NHL went onto a roller coaster together (kind of like Big Thunder Mountain for Disney People to compare). When they got off the ride, NHL was upset. They explained that his head was hurt at the end of the ride. We all went to find a restroom and regroup. When I got out of the bathroom, NHL started to really complain about his head. I looked down and started to see BLOOD coming through his hair. The kid has thick hair. At the mention of blood, NHL began to get upset. Someone cleaning the bathrooms saw what was going on and asked if we needed help. I asked where First Aid was.

Let the drama begin.

The one and ONLY First Aid in this park was way at the back and they could not explain where it was. Sure it was on the map, but there were not clear signs pointing to it. (So spoiled from Disney experience) She went onto her walkie-talkie to ask First Aid to meet us. We waited there with our screaming child for 20-30 minutes. NHL would not let me really look and wanted them to see it. It was bad. They had to call numerous times and found that the original message was not relayed. FINALLY, someone showed up. NHL allowed him to look at the cut. It was long, but not too deep. I was given antibiotic cream to put on it and that was the end.

Cut from roller coaster

Of course, I wanted to know where the disconnect was. Why did it take SO long to have help?  The system at this park had failed and we are lucky it was not a more serious injury. I went to fill out a paper on the way out with my concern. My timing was amazing. The head of the EMT for the park was there, along with the gentleman that had helped us. I learned that there were only FOUR EMT in the park that day with well over 10,000 guests. Please note, this park is not just an amusement park with rides, it also has a water park section with pools and more. I could not believe my ears. The head of the EMT thanked me for writing this concern and said she hoped that more people would because it needed to be addressed by the powers that be. I was told that I would receive an e-mail or call from someone soon.

To date, I have still NOT received a call from said Park. In addition to the note I wrote on official paper, I also called and left a voice mail last week for a supervisor of the park. Nobody has responded. My son was injured on a ride – his head was cut and we still do not know how on said roller coaster. They never addressed that and more importantly nothing has been said about the lack of emergency responder/First Aid personnel in the park. To say that I am a concerned season pass holder would be an understatment.

You may wonder why I am writing this. Well, it really is not to complain. It is more of a warning to people visiting amusement parks this summer season. Look at your map and surroundings. Make sure you know where First Aid locations are and NEVER assume that it will come to you in a timely fashion. Have you ever had a First Aid experience at an amusement park be it Disney, Busch Gardens, Six Flags or Sea World? Please share and let me know.

Share on Facebok
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on Google+

  • Melissa says:

    First, I’d like to say I’m very sorry to hear about NHL’s accident and hoping it isn’t anything serious.

    Secondly, I am appalled at this particular theme park’s lack of professionalism – especially for something as serious as first aid! Having been there myself countless times, it makes me think back over all of my trips and be thankful that we haven’t had the “pleasure” of dealing with that department. To be honest, we have had problems and have had to complain the last two times we were there (to do with parking and customer service). Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it is the park it once was.

    Third, I completely agree that Disney has an outstanding first aid policy/facilities and staff that are more than accommodating. When my husband was stung by a “Florida native” insect in Animal Kingdom they not only cleaned the wound, applied cream, all the usual things, but gave him a weeks worth of medicated cream/bandages to take back to the UK with him along with a note to give to his doctor explaining the insect bite, side effects and medication. If only everyone in the medical field could be so helpful!

    Thank you for posting this and redirecting the attention of parents and carers to things that are incredibly easy to be overlooked in the big scheme of a day out!

  • Michelle says:

    I must be lucky but we have never had to visit First Aid at an amusement park and even with 3 kids I have only had to go the ER once. I feel very lucky for this because my oldest definitely had a host of health issues when he was little but luckily never ended up in the ER.

  • […] passes at least on more time. We had not been there since June 19th. That was the day that NHL was hurt on a ride. In case you are wondering, no Six Flags has NOT called back about the incident. I have e-mailed, […]