MAY 25, 2013— -- May to September is prime time for fun at the amusement park. From frightening news reports to personal YouTube videos, there is no shortage of amusement-ride scares. But a new study has found that it's not always the biggest and fastest rides we should fear.
Smaller ones, which parents might not consider as dangerous, contribute to injuries of more than 4,000 U.S. children each year.
Destiny Malone was just eight when she broke her arm by reaching out while riding a seemingly innocuous kiddie roller coaster.
"When I took her to the emergency room, that's when I found out it was broken," her mother, Crystal Malone, said.
The study, in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, tracked injuries on all kinds of rides: 4,400 per year -- up to 20 a day. When researchers looked at emergency records on which the type of ride was recorded, roller coasters accounted for 10.1 percent, bumper cars 3.9 percent.
But carousels accounted for 20.9 percent -- which might explain why one third of kids injured were five or younger.
The most common kind of accident was falling.
Industry advocates told ABC News that safety is their top priority, and pointed out that injuries among the nearly 300 million riders at their parks are rare. Less than two percent of these injuries required a trip to the hospital, they added.
The best advice may be to take seriously the warnings and instructions on the rides. And if your child may not be able to heed them for any reason, get ice cream instead.