Dangers at Water Parks: Safety Tips
Water parks are popular destinations for families seeking thrilling water-based entertainment and relief from the summer heat. These vibrant playgrounds offer several attractions, from towering slides to lazy rivers and wave pools, promising a day filled with excitement and aquatic adventures.
However, amidst the excitement and joy, knowing the potential dangers within these aquatic wonderlands is crucial. Understanding the risks associated with water parks and essential safety tips can ensure a fun and memorable experience while prioritizing your family’s well-being and safety.
While water parks can be exhilarating, they can also be the source of numerous dangers. Drowning, slipping, and sunburn are some of the first issues you may think of, but there are others that parents should be aware of to help keep their children safe.
The risk of drowning is a major concern at water parks, especially for young children and inexperienced swimmers. The recent drowning of a six-year-old girl and the 2019 death of a 14-year old-boy at Oceans of Fun in Kansas City highlight the risk that children of any age can face when swimming in crowded water park waters.
Wet surfaces in water parks can pose a considerable risk of slips, trips, and falls. Whether it’s the pool decks, walkways, or water slides, these areas can become extremely slippery, leading to accidents and injuries.
Falling on concrete or a hard plastic surface can cause a concussion or broken bones. It can also lead to drowning if a child hits their head and falls into the water. Although drowning is the second leading cause of death in children between 5 and 14, even non-fatal drowning can result in emergency care or long-term disabilities.
Improperly treated or maintained water in pools and attractions can harbor bacteria, viruses, and parasites, potentially causing waterborne illnesses. Inadequate sanitation or filtration systems can lead to infections, gastrointestinal issues, or skin rashes.
According to the CDC, more than 10% of public pool inspections, including water parks, lead to immediate closures due to improper chlorine or bromine levels.
Water parks are predominantly outdoor venues, often exposed to the sun’s harsh rays. Prolonged sun exposure without adequate protection can result in sunburns, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, chills, or fever. It can also increase the risk of developing skin cancer in the future.
Too much heat during a day at the water park can also cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that can lead to seizures or death in children and adults.
Water parks are large, crowded areas with many activities that appeal to children. Children can easily get distracted and wander off, becoming separated from their parents.
While no research shows the exact number of children who go missing at water parks, an estimated 2,300 children are missing every day in the U.S. Many of these kids go missing due to benign circumstances, such as becoming injured or separated in large, crowded public spaces like water parks.
As a parent, there are several actions you can take to keep your child safe when visiting the state’s water parks. Do the following before and during your visit to have a fun, safe time:
- Apply sunscreen with a high SPF regularly and encourage your child to wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protective swimwear to protect their skin from the sun.
- Always supervise your child closely and stay within arm’s reach to prevent drowning. If necessary, make sure they wear a properly fitted life jacket or flotation device. Teach them basic water safety skills.
- Establish a meeting point and ensure your child knows where to go if they get separated. Consider using wristbands with your contact information. Remind them not to wander off alone.
- Encourage your child to walk, not run, around wet areas. Check for slippery surfaces and warn them about potential hazards. Stay vigilant and assist them when navigating stairs or slides.
- Remind your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Take regular breaks in shaded areas.
- Ensure your child wears appropriate water shoes or sandals to protect their feet from hot surfaces and potential hazards.
- Familiarize yourself with the water park’s emergency procedures, such as locating first aid stations and understanding evacuation plans.
- Use mobile phones or walkie-talkies to stay in touch with older children and keep track of their whereabouts in the park.
You or your child may suffer injuries at a Missouri water park— even with proper precautions. If your injuries were caused by staff or owner negligence, speak with an attorney from Cofman Townsley to learn your legal rights.
Our personal injury attorneys can review your case and determine if the water park owner is responsible for your damages. If so, we will help you seek compensation to help cover medical bills and other expenses related to the injury. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.