Your kids have been waiting for May 25th for months on end. That Saturday marks the opening of many Chicagoland water parks (click here for a list), and I’m sure a day (or more) at the water park will surely be on your kid’s summer to-do list.
Water parks are a great way for kids to have fun while escaping the summer heat, but injuries at public waterslides numbered about 5,200 in 2011, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s an increase of almost 1,500 from the injuries reported in 2009. So before taking your children to the water park, consider these safety tips so that the fun doesn’t have to come to an early stop.
- Know Your Surroundings. Lifeguards can react quickly to emergencies in the water, but talking to your children about waterpark safety can go a long way in preventing emergencies in the first place. When enjoying water slides, children should watch out for others who might slide into them. The same idea goes for wave pools, where bigger kids or less-skilled swimmers could push your child underwater. Being aware of what’s going on around you is also very important for children who wear glasses or contacts. If they are with a group of friends, make sure the friends keep an eye out for the child who can’t see well without glasses – and makes sure they stay with the group!
- Sunscreen. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration prohibited sunscreen manufacturers from labeling their products as “waterproof” and “sweatproof” because sunscreen is not actually waterproof. It is only water-resistant. Make sure you get the sunscreen that is water-resistant up to 80 minutes (manufactures can label sunscreen as 40-minute and 80-minute protection). And don’t forget to reapply throughout the day!
- Wear Proper Clothing. A loose-fitting shirt is a way to protect against the sun in the event you or your child gets too much exposure. A hat and sunglasses are also a must-have to protect your head and eyes. Waterproof shoes are also a good investment, especially if your child is prone to scraping his or her feet on the bottom of the pool – and they also protect from stepping on loose rocks or other sharp objects.
- Be Sanitary. Don’t drink the pool water! And take bathroom breaks (maybe this can be done at the same time you are re-applying sunscreen?) If you have cuts, make sure to cover them with waterproof bandages.
- Have Fun! Having to follow rules and re-apply sunscreen might sound like a damper on the fun, but it is way more fun to play safe than it is to play and get hurt.
I hope these suggestions enhance your kids’ summer fun! In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about what happens in the unfortunate situation where a child is injured at a water park. Until then, you might want to read this related post on waiving your child’s right to sue for injuries.