Here's a look at waterparks, their safety and statistics:
About 1,300 waterparks operated in North America a year ago, up about 30 percent from a decade ago, according to the trade group World Waterpark Association. Those parks attracted about 85 million people in 2015, compared to about 73 million in 2004. A growing segment of the industry has been municipal-run waterparks, as cities and counties look to boost revenue from what their flat-water pools deliver.
HOW SAFE ARE WATERPARKS?
No figures are available for overall water park injuries, but the Red Cross cited U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates when it launched updated training efforts last year for lifeguards who work at waterparks. Those showed more than 4,200 people a year taken to emergency rooms to be treated for scrapes, concussions, broken limbs, spinal injuries and other such injuries suffered on public waterslides. Those numbers do not include other waterpark injuries or those who need lifeguard assistance without a hospital trip.
Drownings also occur. In July 2015, one drowning and at least three near-drownings were reported at U.S. waterparks.
WHAT DANGERS LURK AT WATERPARKS?
As the parks proliferate, concern has grown about the risks present even when most of the water is shallower than 3 feet — people who aren't good swimmers, especially young children, mixed with the unexpected hit of waves and falls that can lead to concussions or even drownings.
WHAT'S BEEN DONE TO IMPROVE SAFETY?
The Red Cross in 2015 added training and certification specifically for extreme shallow water rescue. The Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding course includes techniques for handling and removing people from water that is generally 3 feet deep or less, which can be different than in deep-water pools, and first-aid training emphasizing care for head, neck and spinal injuries. About 2,100 people took the courses last year, according to the Red Cross.
WHAT DO STATES DO TO REGULATE WATERPARKS?
It varies, but Kansas statutes leave it to its Department of Labor to adopt rules and regulations relating to certification and inspection of rides, adding that an amusement ride at a permanent location "shall be self-inspected by a qualified inspector at least every 12 months."
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO KEEP THEIR CHILDREN SAFE?
The Red Cross offers tips from: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Headed-to-a-Water-Park-Here-Are-Some-Safety-Steps - specifically for waterparks. The Red Cross swim app is also available, which is designed for children and their parents. It can be found at http://rdcrss.org/23X5Zqq ( http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps ) . Please copy/paste above links to view them. Thank you!