We’ve spent plenty of time this summer attempting to warn citizens of California of the many drowning threats that exist with beaches, swimming pools, and even household hazards like baths and buckets of water. But one topic we haven’t really covered is how to ensure safety when traveling to one of the state’s many water parks.
A new report out of Ontario from the Lifesaving Society has things covered. The organization has put together a few tips that water park visitors can put into action in order to make sure their trip is as safe as possible.
Parents first need to prepare children for what to expect. Many kids will be quite excited for the trip, but that excitement might cause them to overlook certain precautions that you as a parent need to ensure take place. Speak with children about obeying the rules of the water park and provide supervision at all times to make sure they’re not running or otherwise putting themselves in harm’s way.
On the other hand, other children might be nervous about the day at the water park, and it’s up to parents to set their minds at ease. For instance, if a child seems to be a little bit gun shy about going down a particular slide, you can either circumvent that portion of the park entirely or go down first while the child waits with another parent, thus showing them that there’s nothing to fear. It might not work, but that’s fine too. It’s better to avoid the slide than to have a child panic and injure himself or herself in the water or on the way down the slide.
For kids that can’t wait to ride a slide, make sure that you’re going with them and adhering to the directives of signage and water park personnel. If your child is too short for a slide, then don’t attempt to argue your child’s way onto the attraction. That restriction is there for their own safety. And as you’re waiting for the slide, don’t go down until you’re given the go-ahead from a lifeguard.
The other area where kids have to be informed of the proper procedures is at the point where the slide meets the water. Some kids might be panicked by the momentary submersion and inability to breach the surface. Children who are old enough and can hold their breath might practice by executing somersaults in the water to simulate the experience. Other kids whose swimming skills aren’t quite there yet should be festooned with a life jacket.
Finally, make sure that lifeguards are available wherever you travel and that there’s enough personnel to properly keep an eye on things. If there’s no such supervision, you might move to another section of the water park that does have lifeguards available.