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Stay safe at the waterpark

Posted: July 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Hundreds cool off in the Forgotten Sea Wave Pool, foreground at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor last summer. Dan Watson / Signal file photo

More than 85 million people in North America went to waterparks during the summer 2012 season, according to the World Waterpark Association.

While waterparks, such as Six Flags Hurricane Harbor or the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center, can be fun family activities during hot weather and school vacations, crowds and distractions can make it difficult for parents to keep their children safe.

Stephanie Dunn, program specialist at the local aquatics center, said water safety is extremely important, and education contributed greatly to the city’s annual Water Safety Day.

“Drowning is a huge cause of death for children in our country,” Dunn said. “We would like it if we could go a whole summer without hearing about a drowning anywhere in our community.”

The United States Swim School Association (USSSA) has created safety suggestions for parents who are planning a trip to the waterpark this summer.

Assign each child a buddy

One parent cannot physically keep an eye on more than one child at all times. Pair the kids up before you head to the water park and have them promise to watch their buddy and stay together in the park.

Check in regularly

For older kids, schedule an hourly meeting at an agreed-upon location, so you can verify everyone has checked in regularly and is safe.

Monitor your own kids

Do not rely on lifeguards to constantly monitor your children. You cannot be sure how experienced a lifeguard is and should never assume.

It might take a new guard some time to notice an unsafe situation in a crowded pool, so you need to be ready to react first if your child needs help.

Don’t rely on floaties

Do not use water wings or pool floats as a substation for supervision if your child is not a strong swimmer. Children who are uncomfortable in the water should be monitored at all times.

Hydrate and snack

Even though your kids might not feel hot and sweaty because they are in the water, a day in the sun can quickly take its toll. Dehydration and heat stroke can strike rapidly if proper precautions are not taken.

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