How to Make Your Trip to the Water Park Safe for Your Kids - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on July 22, 2016

How to Make Your Trip to the Water Park Safe for Your Kids

As a parent or guardian, you need to be well informed about how to keep the kids safe at a water park.

It's important to be well informed about how
to keep the kids safe at a water park.

Summer is in full swing. It’s a time for fun in the sun, and a lot of times, that means a trip to a water park.

However, before you head out for a rollicking good time, here’s your reminder to put safety first. As a parent or guardian, you need to be well informed about how to keep the kids safe at a water park. After all, children 14 and under account for about 20 percent of the drowning deaths in the United States.

Water Park Safety Tips

One of the biggest safety measures you can take to prevent any water-related emergencies involving your children is to make sure they learn how to swim. Swimming lessons for children as young as one to three years old can help reduce their risk of drowning.

Second, make sure the water park you’re visiting has appropriate barriers around its attractions that prevent younger children from accidentally falling in when no one’s looking.

Other tips for water park safety include:

  • Apply waterproof sunscreen, preferably a minimum of SPF30, before you head out, and remember to reapply every two hours. Bring clothing and hats as additional options for shielding the sun.
  • Make sure your kids drink water regularly. They’re at a higher risk for dehydration than adults and the symptoms – such as headache or dizziness – might worsen and require emergency treatment.
  • Check to see if there is a first aid station at the water park you plan to visit.
  • Use the buddy system and make sure children are always supervised.
  • Children shorter than four feet, and anyone who can’t swim very well (or at all) should wear a life jacket. If you have any toddlers, make sure their diapers are waterproof.
  • Read instructions posted around the park and specific attractions, and follow instructions given by park employees and lifeguards when applicable. For example, check to see if any rides or pools of water have any age restrictions.
  • If you’re a parent and don’t know CPR, it might be a good idea to learn before heading out to a water park.

What Is "Dry Drowning"?

Also, keep in mind that your child’s risk of drowning isn’t over once you leave the water park. Although they’re rare, children might be at risk for “dry drowning” and secondary drowning up to 24 hours after leaving the water. The former occurs when water, without ever reaching the lungs, causes the vocal chords to spasm and close up. The latter is caused by a gradual buildup of water in the lungs via the airways.

Symptoms of both include coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing, irritability and feeling lethargic. If you notice these symptoms, take your child to the emergency room. If left untreated, these nonfatal forms of drowning can lead to long-term problems such as memory issues and learning disabilities.

Always Practice Proper Swim Safety

And keep your child’s risk of drowning in other settings in mind as well. Drowning incidents involving children ages one to four, for example, happen most often in home swimming pools.

Whichever water-related settings you might frequent this summer, always make sure your child either knows how to swim or wears appropriate flotation devices, and is properly supervised by you or someone you trust.

Crozer-Keystone Pediatrics

At Crozer-Keystone Health System, we know that children have a unique set of healthcare needs. That's why we offer a comprehensive array of services designed specifically for the care of newborns, children, adolescents and young adults.

Learn more at crozerkeystone.org/Pediatrics.

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