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The Dangers of Water Parks: How to Keep Your Family Safe


When the sun is beating down and you want to cool off chances are you may bring your family to the local water park. The wave pools and slides are a terrific way to freshen up on a hot day, but there are several subtle dangers of water parks you may not be aware of.

Sure, we all know not to run or roughhouse to prevent slipping. But chemicals and microorganisms in the water itself can pose potential health hazards for you and your family. Read on for the rundown on these lurking dangers.

Chlorine

Chlorine is a chemical used to treat water for cleanliness, but more and more studies show that chlorine exposure in large doses can be dangerous for the general public. Chlorine can cause red eyes and skin irritation after a few short minutes, and prolonged inhalation of chlorine fumes can cause and exacerbate allergies and asthma.

When traveling to a water park limit your children’s exposure to chlorine. Don’t allow them to stay in the water for hours on end. Break up your activities throughout the day by grabbing a meal or riding a dry ride if you’re at a larger amusement park. After dipping in to the pool, be sure to shower and rise off at a shower station. The water may still have chlorine in it but hopefully at much lower levels, helping to alleviate the harmful effects of chlorine in pool water.

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Sunburn

We’re sure you know that sunscreen is essential when spending time outside. With all the splashing around and water-based activities at a waterpark, children’s protective layer of sunscreen can be washed off quickly. In order to protect your kids make it mandatory to reapply sunscreen after three hours, even two hours depending on the SPF, your skin tone, and the degree of direct sun exposure.

This rule applies even for indoor water parks. While enjoying indoor water parks you may notice that the roofs are see-through and allow sunlight in. Being inside is no excuse not to lather up and protect your family’s skin from sunburn and skin cancer.

Waterborne Illness

Unfortunately there are countless bacteria and microorganisms that can be transferred through the water at your local water park. Everyone is sharing the same water, which is fertile breeding ground for cryptosporidium, E. coli, Legionnaires’ disease, and other microbes to grow and spread. Symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening seizures.

As a rule of thumb, don’t let your children swim if they have diarrhea or have had it in the last week. Take your children to the restroom several times throughout the day to make sure nothing ends up in the pools. Illnesses are generally transmitted through urine or fecal matter entering the water. When swimming, inform your children to not swallow any pool water (or to open their mouth underwater at all, if they can help it).

Athlete’s Foot

The wet concrete that everyone walks over in the water park is coated in fungus. Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for athlete’s foot, and if you’re not careful you and your children will go home with more than a souvenir mug. Athlete’s foot is painful, itchy, and especially troublesome for children.

Encourage your kids to wear flip-flops or shoes they can wear in and out of the water. Avoid that concrete if you can, and get your family members’ feet nice and dry as soon as you leave.

If you decide to venture out to a water park follow this advice to reduce your risk of falling victim to waterborne dangers.

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