Water parks across the country are the hot spots for people to cool off and beat the heat in the summer. All those water attractions, cooling sprays, waves, and wild rides are great fun, but it's important to stay safe when you're visiting a water park.
9 Ways to Stay Safe at the Water Park
1. Dress for the day
You’ll be outside, in the heat, most of the day. Dress appropriately to keep from getting sunburned, experiencing heat stroke, or getting dehydrated. This includes wearing water shoes, a hat and a loose t-shirt when you need a break from the water, and sunglasses. Be sure to keep a close eye on younger children and monitor how much time they spend in the direct sunlight.
2. Wear sunscreen
Along those same lines, be sure to apply waterproof sunscreen 30 minutes before you arrive at the park and reapply it throughout the day. Waterproof sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 80 minutes if you’ve been in the water, especially if you've dried yourself off with a towel in between applications.
And don't forget about your lips—wear lip balm with SPF 15 or higher while in the sun.1
3. Stay hydrated
Being in the sun all day and playing in the water can dehydrate you rather quickly. Drink plenty of water and try to avoid any caffeinated sodas or drinks with artificial sweeteners. These beverages contribute to dehydration, so water is always your best option.
4. Keep an eye on your kids
You need to know where your kids are at all times at the water park. Even if there is a lifeguard on duty, don’t depend on them. Always watch your children or be in the water with them. Lifeguards are responsible for scanning large areas and can sometimes miss things. Plus, it's not their responsibility to babysit children—they're looking out for emergencies only.
5. Know the four “toos”
There are some “toos” that can quickly turn to dangerous circumstances if not monitored correctly. Don’t get too tired, too cold, too far from safety, or too exposed to sun. If you notice your children mentioning any of these or if your instincts tell you the family has been in the sun too long, take a break in a shady spot or go indoors.
6. Know the rules
Each water park has different rules, so be sure to read all posted signs before sending your children off to enjoy the fun. Water parks are filled with different features and slides, each appropriate for different ages. Read all safety procedures and precautions relating to height, age, swimming ability, and medical condition. Be sure to follow the rules and ask the lifeguards or staff if you have any questions.
7. Don’t run around the pool
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but it’s important to remember not to run around the water park. Running on slippery decks or sidewalks can be very dangerous. Avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room for stitches or a broken leg by simply walking instead of running while in the park.
8. Know how to swim
Every member of the family should at least know the swimming basics before going to the water park. The best thing for anyone to do to stay safe in water is to know how to swim. Both adults and children should know how to swim to help avoid drowning accidents. Teach them at home if you have a backyard pool, or consider signing your children up for swimming lessons to help get them comfortable.
9. Keep young children in shallow areas
There are different areas with varying water depth levels at most water parks. Keep younger children and toddlers in the shallow play areas. Most water parks have zero-depth entry pool with sprays, fountains, and water games that may be better suited for your younger children than going on any of the water slides or in the pool.