Special Needs Kids Not Let on Carnival Rides

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DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Officials with the Mississippi Valley Fair are apologizing to guests with special needs.

WQAD reports employees from the company that operates the carnival rides didn't explain why they weren't letting certain kids with special needs ride the rides on Tuesday, Which happened to be special needs day at the fair.

The fair manager says the workers failed to explain the height and weight restrictions specifically for children with special needs, and instead simply turned them away.

“I found out what happened at the turnaways right after lunch, and we jumped right on it. It went viral I felt terrible about that. I mean I wouldn't do anything in the world to hurt these children or these adults, and we found out about it, we got right on it. We tried to correct it, and we will correct it,” says Bob Fox, fair manager.

Fox says special needs children can come back to the fair on Sunday and will be let in for free.


  • Rebecca Hergert

    Back in the 70’s, these amusement parks like Disneyland, Disney World, Six Flags, & others. You had to be a certain height & weght. Have no medical problems either for adults/children!!

  • Brenda Hummel

    Please never refer to kids with special health care needs as “special needs kids” they are kids first! They are not defined by their diagnosis. We need the media to help change the stigma and it starts with person first language. Kids with special health care needs. Thank you.

  • Sue

    Rebecca – a lot of the ‘thrill’ rides do still have restrictions, it is for the safety of the rider. The harnesses may not securely fit someone under ‘x’ inches tall or ‘x’ lbs.
    Brenda – Ok, I don’t have a child with special needs. My kids are still special to me though. I don’t think ‘special needs kid’ is meant to be duragatory. I have co-workers that will explain to me that they have ‘a special needs child’ . I think political correctness is going just a little too far when we have to make sure that we not only use the proper terms, but, we make sure that they are in the right order. And, if the order is so important, does that mean that an African American person considers themselves an African first and an American as an afterthought?
    My non-special needs kids are still pretty d*mn special to me and their dad!!!

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