Expat and Saudi families shun leisure venues due to accidents

Published:  4 Dec at 6 PM
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Both expats with children and their Saudi equivalents are searching for alternative leisure venues for days out following a spate of accidents in commercial arcades.

Local family entertainment centres are found in malls and other commercial centres, but are often poorly maintained and with few health and safety measures on children’s rides. In the latest incident last summer, a group of youngsters received head injuries when safety belts on a waterfall ride failed while the ride was in motion.

Local media is reporting calls for compulsory accident and injury insurance against all risks for operators of leisure venues, amusement arcades and games and recreation areas. In the meantime, local families are avoiding them and looking for alternatives.

According to residents, Jeddah’s revamped waterfront area, reopened after renovations last December, is seen to be the safest as regards protection for youngsters. However, it holds only play facilities for small children, a dedicated joggers lane and a ramp for disabled access, and isn’t able to replace the number of entertainment venues which closed down recently due to a lack of safety standards.

In the past, family recreation centres have been good earners for the businesses involved, especially during the Eid holidays. It remains to be seen whether health and safety issues in existing and new developments will be taken seriously enough to instill confidence in parents wanting a fun day out with their kids.
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