Boy Injured by Broken Glass in Amusement Park Accident

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on January 11, 2022

Glass Expert WitnessThis case takes place in New York and involves a young boy who was severely injured while at an amusement park. The boy was enjoying a “fun house” style attraction when he entered a darkened room that contained mirrored corridors. The room was illuminated only by a strobe light, and also contained a few actors who were assigned to startle guests as they walked through the room. At some point, the boy was startled by one of the actors. He turned and sprinted back the way he came, at which point he ran headlong into one of the glass mirrors at full speed, which shattered into very large shards of glass. As a result, he suffered multiple lacerations across his hands and chest, which required stitches and hospitalization, and his injuries have resulted in permanent scarring and loss of function.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please explain why you're qualified to serve as an expert reviewer of this matter.
  • 2. Are you familiar with safe alternatives to the mirror in question, such as films / screens to shatterproof glass?

Expert Witness Response E-036980

I have 39 years of experience in engineering, engineering management, and project management for a leading specialty glass manufacturer. I have a great deal of experience with glass and feel confident I can address this case. Potential alternative and safer approaches to this mirror include tempered, laminated, and chemically strengthened glass. Screens and films may also be practical, considering the high-traffic nature of the room in question and the potential for accidents like the one detailed above. Relocation out of reach could also be an option, though this might interfere with the normal function of the attraction. The key question is the function of the mirror: is it deliberately distorted as part of the attraction? Does it need to show the full body at eye level? Is it important for customers to touch the glass? Does it rely on pressure, capacitance or other interaction with customers? A safe solution is easy to find, a practical solution that is safe and entertaining is a bit more challenging. Still, accidents like this reveal the danger of placing this type of mirror in an environment that could lead to breakage. One must always keep the “worst case” scenario in mind when designing attractions such as this.

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