Splashing down a water slide is a favorite summer activity for many families, and even the smell of chlorine can conjure fond memories. But a day at the water park can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are injured. While you may not always be able to prevent accidents, especially when the park owner or an operator is negligent, there are a few common-sense precautions you can take to avoid injury. Before you hit the rides, research proper water park etiquette and equip your family for a fun – and safe – summer experience.
Injury Risks at Water Parks
It’s common knowledge that water parks are risky, but you may not be aware of just how dangerous they can be. Waterslides have the highest potential for injury by far: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that nearly 4,200 people end up in the emergency room each year due to water slides alone, and that water park injuries collectively cause 5,600 total injuries annually. In one tragic incident in 2016, a ten-year-old boy was actually decapitated on a Kansas waterslide that was marketed as one of the highest in the world. The designers and operators of the Verruckt water slide were ultimately indicted for manslaughter and criminal negligence, because it was demonstrated in court that they rushed to release the ride and did not have proper training on water slide construction. Here are just a few of the injuries that occur at water parks every year:
- Head injuries
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord trauma
- Drowning injuries
- Bacterial infections
- Pink eye
- Scrapes and cuts
- Broken limbs
- Sunburn and heat stroke
Tips for Water Park Safety
With all that said, it may seem like it’s impossible to enjoy your day at the water park. However, observing a few simple safety tips can go a long way in preventing injury and ensuring you’re prepared for any outcome. Some of the best ways to keep safe at the water park include:
- Staying hydrated: Avoid the risk of heat stroke by carrying water bottles with you at all times, and ensuring your children drink water throughout the day. Limit caffeine and sugar consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.
- Using sunscreen: Bring a bottle of high-quality sunscreen that is at least SPF 50 and PA+++ rated, and preferably waterproof. Re-applying to exposed skin every hour will prevent serious sunburns.
- Monitoring your children: Don’t rely solely on lifeguards and park attendants to watch your children. Keep an eye on them at all times, and implement the buddy system throughout the park.
- Checking for lifeguards: If you do have to leave the pool, make sure you know where the lifeguards are located, and check that there’s an attendant on duty who can watch your child.
- Bringing hand sanitizer: Water parks are notorious for spreading dangerous bacteria and illnesses. Make sure to wash your hands often, and bring hand sanitizer for emergencies.
- Wearing appropriate gear: Ensure small children have the right swimming equipment. For kids under four feet tall, make sure they have a Coast Guard-approved life vest. Very young children should be wearing waterproof and leak-proof diapers.
- Practicing good swimming hygiene: Double-check that your family is properly showering before and after entering pools and rides, and educate your family on best hygiene practices to keep other families safe. Don’t let your kids ride if they are feeling sick.
Of course, the most important safety tip at a water park is to observe all the park rules. You may not be able to avoid every accident, but using wise judgment about the rides and paying careful attention to your surroundings can prevent a bad injury from becoming fatal. If you took the proper safety precautions but were still injured on a water park ride, you might want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your losses. To get a free consultation, contact us at (419) 318-0772 today. Our skilled team of personal injury attorneys at Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. has over 100 years of combined experience handling cases like yours.