A news story broke just a few months ago about a 10 year old boy in Kansas named Caleb Schwab who went with his family to a local water park in Kansas. Little did they know they would be returning home without their little boy that afternoon.
The string of negligence involved in this accident resulted in the death of an innocent young boy and dozens of other injuries. What was supposed to be a day out with the family turned into a trip from hell. What are the dangers lurking in these water parks and how can they be prevented?
Water Park Statistics
There is no available data on the amount of overall water park injuries (there should be), but the Red Cross and U.S Consumer Safety Commission estimates that about 4,200 people are taken to the emergency room every year. They are treated for scrapes, concussions, broken limbs, spinal injuries and other such injuries suffered on public waterslides. According to the report, these numbers do not include water park injuries that didn’t require trips to the hospital. So, it’s very possible a lot of these injuries often go unaccounted for.
State Water Park Regulations
Currently, there is no consistent federal standard of regulation for amusement parks, but there are 44 out of 50 states that have regulations in place. States with the strictest amusement park regulations include New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah -- have none in place.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slips, trips and falls are lethal dangers lurking in every corner of the water park. Be on the lookout for hidden “pools” of water in places like the bathroom and around the food courts. These may seem like unlikely places, but in a waterpark they are breeding grounds for serious injuries especially when many people are barefoot. These types of accidents occur because many people don’t fully dry off when they’re hopping around the park from waterslides, to the restroom, to the food court.
This creates a trail of dangers for those who are walking around the park barefoot. The waterpark owners can be liable for damages in a slip and fall accident, but it’s up to you to keep a close eye on the little ones in order to keep them from running and slipping somewhere in the park. Water shoes can also help prevent slip and fall injuries because they offer a better grip on slippery surfaces.
Even though most water parks have water shallower than 3 ft, it’s important to keep in mind that a young child can get hit with an unexpected wave that can lead to unintentional drowning.
Another danger is the amount of people that can be in one pool at a time. If your child is in the lazy river or the group pool, they could quickly dunk under and get smacked in the face by someone else's foot or other body part. Lifeguards do their best to keep a watchful eye on groups of swimmers, but sometimes large crowds can be deceiving. A concussion under the water could easily go unnoticed by an on-duty lifeguard.
Stay Safe With Your Family
Following the incident last March with the young boy in Kansas, concern has grown over the risks that are present in these aquatic playgrounds. Unfortunately, your at the mercy of owners who can be negligent and not keep their property up up code. The red cross suggests having children who can't swim wear a U.S approved Coast Guard Jacket and always have a meeting spot with your family in the event someone gets lost. For all of the Red Cross Water Park Safety tips, click here.