There is just something about miniature train rides that really attracts kids. You can probably remember the thrill that you experienced when you were a child and got to ride on that little train that went round and round, and you probably hated to get off when the ride was finished.
Well, things in that department have not changed much as train rides are still lots of fun and a thrill for children. However, the primary concern with any ride for children has to be the safety in which the ride is operated as well as how the ride is built. There needs to be built-in safety apparatus so children cannot arbitrarily get loose and hurt themselves, as we all know how curious children can be.
Speed is very important, and a slow speed is preferred. Some trains travel on a set track, and in most cases the tracks are set in an oval so that everything is in sight at all times. The children should be belted into the riding compartment so that the cannot wiggle out.
Some trains are free roaming, in other words, they do not run on tracks. You will see this type of children’s train at malls and fairs, usually withing a confined area, but they are not running on tracks. A slow speed of about 3 mph is preferred with a length of the train in the number of cars being limited. Five or six cars are a safe number in that it is easier to monitor the behavior of the children and to be able to spot any potential problems.
The larger cars will allow for parents to ride along with their children, for example in a shopping mall, this would be the ideal situation.
The children’s trains that were popular years ago had more cars trailing the engine, but all of the children fit into an individual slot, with the child facing forward. Today, children’s trains allow for bigger cars, with space for multiple children facing both ways. This may or may not be a problem, as a child’s natural propensity is to try to lean out to the side to look behind if they are facing the rear of the train.
Care in loading and unloading the children needs to be a priority, and making sure that everyone is buckled in properly is very important. Having enough people to supervise the children as they are loading and unloading should be a priority.
Vividly posting safety signs in regard to age limits if the children are traveling alone, and recommendations for parents to accompany them if they are under a certain age, if in fact the cars allow room for parents, or older brothers and sisters.
Careful instructions should always be posted and stated to the children before the train begins its run. Staying seated at all times, keep all arms, legs, head and body in the car, and don’t get up until the train stops should be announced when the train starts and just before it stops.
Train rides are great fun for kids, but only if rules are announced, posted enough times for everyone to understand.