When we think about water safety, most of us immediately think about how to keep kids safe around pools. And while pools are probably where our children will spend most of their share of time around water, we also need to be prepared to keep them safe around other bodies of water.
As summer gets closer and closer, water parks are one of these areas. There’s no question that kids of all ages love the thrill of the water slides, water-based obstacle courses and wave pools that water parks offer. So it’s important we talk about water park safety, and what to keep in mind when you get ready to enjoy a fun-filled day of splashing, sliding and swimming.
There’s No Substitute for Direct Supervision
The number one rule of water safety anywhere is active supervision by an adult. This means that each adult in this role needs to be free of distractions (like cell phones) and focus their full attention on watching the kids as they play in the water. If the children under your charge want to go on a water slide and you’re not interested in riding (and it’s age-appropriate for them), that’s okay - just make sure you’re waiting at the bottom to see that they get out of the water safely.
If kids outnumber adults in your group, clearly communicate with the other adults about how you’ll divide and conquer. Split the children up based on what attractions they’re most eager to try, and make sure they know they need to stay with their dedicated adult and the other children in their group. This way, you can keep a head count and make sure that you can account for the safety of all the children in your care.
Even if the kids are older, good swimmers, and mostly self-sufficient, active supervision is still important. If one of them happened to injure themselves or have some sort of accident, it’ll be beneficial that there was an adult close by.
Map out a Meeting Place
Even if you’re doing everything right as far as swimming supervision goes, there’s always a risk of being separated from the kids you’re watching at a busy place like a water park. So, when you first arrive, decide on a meeting place that’s easy for everyone to see and find. Make sure all the kids and adults understand that if anyone gets separated from their group, they should go directly to that meeting location. Another great way to be prepared in case this happens is to take a picture of your child when you first get to the park in their swimming suit, that way if they get lost you have a photo to show staff.
Follow All Rules
There’s so much energy at water parks, that it can be easy for kids (and even adults) to want to jump right into all the attractions the minute they get there. Before getting swept up in the excitement, make sure to read all posted signs and explain to your children what the guidelines are. Some of the rules posted might be rooted in common sense, but you might learn something you didn’t know that can help keep you and your kids safe.
Guard Against the Sun
Finally, keep in mind that being in the sun all day can be damaging in a number of ways. First, be sure to bring plenty of water with you and remind kids to hydrate regularly all throughout the day. Dehydration can be very serious, and it’s very easy for children especially to forget about drinking enough water when they’re having fun.
Second, apply sunscreen when you get there and again one or two more times throughout the day (depending on how long your particular brand of sunscreen lasts). Remember to bring a sunscreen-based lip balm too, and make sure your sunscreen is waterproof so it fully protects you and your kids when in the water. Bad sunburns can sneak up on you during a full day in the sun, and can be very painful and harmful.
If you keep all these water park safety tips in mind as you gear up for your fun day, you’ll have a great time - and peace of mind too. After all, protecting you and your kids is always the number one goal. Once that’s accounted for, you can all feel free to soak up the joy of the day!
Contact us if you’d like to learn more water safety tips, or to find out about our swimming programs.