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Friday, January 30th, 2009 @ 8:23 PM
Subj: Dangerous Ride at Chuck E. Cheese!
From: KJ

I wanted to let you all know about a very dangerous ride at Chuck E. Cheese. It's that giant Rocking Horse. Several months ago I took my daughter there and as I sat there I started studying that rocking horse. I'm an engineer so I tend to look at things from the engineering point of view. It didn't take me very long at all to realize that this ride has a very dangerous flaw that is not readily noticeable.

For those who aren't familiar with this ride it consists of a very large (8í tall) plastic rocking horse that can seat two inside. It is accessed via a wooden platform and stairs. There is a retractable belt that goes across the entrance to the horse. This is to keep the child from exiting when the ride is in motion but there is no safety switch in place preventing the ride from operating if this belt is not in place. More often than not this belt is not in place.

Basically, you have a moving object (the horse) moving past an immovable object (the wooden platform). Before the ride begins, the child sits in the horse then must lean out to deposit a token into a box located on the platform. There is a slight delay then the horse starts to rock driven by an electric motor. As the horse moves past the platform, the relative gap closes to approximately 4Ē. If a child was leaning out or exiting the ride while it was in motion and happened to be in that space, they would be crushed. I regularly observed children entering and exiting the ride while it was in motion. There is no attendant there to prevent this from happening.

I noticed this several months ago and immediately notified the manager of the store who obviously didnít understand the gravity of the situation. I also called the main office and they told me they would immediately take action. Iíve been back a few times since but the ride was still there and with no obvious changes. My rule now is that my 8 year old daughter and her friends are not allowed on that ride.

Last night her school had a fundraiser there and I just happened to be sitting near the horse when I observed a child get her head crushed by this ride!! She was in the ride and leaned over and put her token in. As the horse started moving she dropped one of her tokens between the horse and the platform. Her first reaction was to look down to see if she could see the token. Before I could get up and warn her, her head ended up in the small gap that I described above! I was horrified. I ran up to see her and she was sitting there crying. Her mom was right there but didnít realize that anything had happened. The good news is that the girl seemed fine later in the evening so I hope there isnít any long lasting damage.

What was very appalling was that upon notifying the manager, he was very nonchalant about the situation. He told me and another parent that itís not unsafe and that only a single child was hurt in 8 months. Excuse me but ONE CHILD IS ONE TOO MANY! We asked him to close the ride at least for that night so that our school could have a safe environment to play in. He refused!!! He finally came to his senses and closed the ride. I have been trying to contact the main office but there is only one person there who is assigned to risk management and she isnít answering her phone.

So please, stay away from this ride. Do what you can to get Chuck E. Cheese to remove this ride! The number for the headquarters is 888-778-7193.

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