What's being done to keep RodeoHouston carnival-goers safe?

RodeoHouston officials tell us the rides are inspected daily
March 7, 2014 3:31:26 PM PST
It'll be a busy weekend ahead at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and on Friday, the carnival officially opened to the public. With a history of serious accidents in 2011 and 2012, we wanted to find out what's being done to make sure carnival-goers are safe.

"I've been coming since I was a kid so now I'm bringing my daughter," said Latricia White.

RodeoHouston is just another childhood experience Latricia gets to share with her three-year-old daughter. Only now that experience comes with some concern.

"A couple of years ago, I don't know if you remember, a little girl fell down, so I personally go in if I can and buckle her in because I don't want her falling out," she told us.

In 2012, a 3-year-old girl fell six to eight feet to the ground when she slipped out of a ride. And just a year earlier, in 2011, a man fell to his death after riding a roller coaster.

"They were both unfortunate events, but they weren't necessarily the result of unsafe procedures," said Elizabeth Greer with RodeoHouston.

According to Greer, not many safety changes were made after those two accidents. She says a private inspector comes in every day to re-check the safety work being done by the company that runs the amusement rides.

"They make sure that she's tall enough. They measure her every time and they gave me this sticker," said mother April Claire.

A little green sticker is another layer of security, say officials. It identifies riders who are over 14 and as being responsible for a smaller child.

Still, most parents we talked to say safety isn't the responsibility of just one party.

"Some of the attendants, they don't go around and check the kids after the parent," said Latricia. "Some of them just let the parents do it, so I feel like the parents need to do their part and make sure they buckle in as well as the rodeo attendant. I feel like it's both."

The video above is of workers inspecting one of the RodeoHouston rides.

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