How to know a summer carnival ride is safe

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Warm sunny days with the kids out of school means it's time for festivals, carnivals and fairs of all sorts.

With those events, often there are rides geared for children.

But are they safe? You can find out if a ride has been properly inspected.

Indiana State law mandates that all temporary rides be inspected at least once a year, and it's easy to see if that's been done, you just need to know what you're looking for - a small sticker with a date that shows the ride has been checked out in the past 12 months.

State inspectors check the mechanics of the rides, make sure they are assembled properly, look for the right kind of seat belts or other restraints, and also check the training of the operator.

But keep in mind, the rides are only inspected once, then they are torn down and moved to multiple locations throughout the summer. So it's important for parents to give the rides a once-over inspection themselves to make sure they appear to be in good working order.

"The majority of operators operate within the rules and do a great job," said John Erickson of Indiana Homeland Security. "But, yeah, it is up to parents and families to look after their kids. They need to make sure the kids aren't exiting the ride before it's stopped. They need to make sure that they're going to keep their hands and feet and that they don't have long hair that would be hanging out of the car."

Also keep height requirements in mind. They aren't always enforced, but it's important to abide by them because safety harnesses are designed for a certain sized person and won't fit safely if the child isn't big enough.

If anyone has a complaint or concern about a ride, they can call Homeland Security at (888) 203-5020 or email