Mother concerned after seatbelt incident at local fair

Ashtabula Fair Ride Issue - Will Ujek

Another local fair opened this week, and an incident on a ride has one mother warning other parents. It happened on the first night of the Ashtabula County Fair.

One mother says her son could have been harmed when his seatbelt came undone on this kiddie rollercoaster, Tuesday.

Megan Welch took her kids to the Ashtabula County Fair on opening day. 3-year-old Jacob was excited to ride his first big boy ride.

"I explained to him mommy can't go, stay seated and make sure your seatbelt is on," said Megan Welch.

At first, he was all smiles, but then... she noticed Jacob looked upset.

"He was crying real hard, screaming for me, but I just thought maybe he had gotten a little bit scared."

She doesn't know when or how, but Jacob's seatbelt had come unbuckled. She addressed the ride operator.

 "He said, well I got distracted."

A company called Lisko has provided entertainment at the fair for years.

Fair Board President Don Crites says they've received no formal safety complaints about the ride or company, this season.

 "Knowing the tragedy that occurred in Columbus, was a concern, but we always are in a position to keep that safety in mind,"said Crites

We spoke with Walter Reiss, an inspector and safety consultant in the amusement business. He encourages parents to enter fair rides with their children, inspect the seat area, and fasten them into the ride themselves.

"I knew I could do that before, but I didn't want the other parents to look at me as that overprotective overbearing mom," said Welch

Although the ride operator is required by law to make sure everyone is secured properly, Welch says - she is ultimately responsible for the safety of her child.

 "Next time, absolutely, I will be that mom," she said.

Ohio law says ride operators must stay aware at all times and be able to hit the emergency stop if something goes wrong. 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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