Visiting the Waterpark with a Preschooler

Each year more than 70 million people visit local waterparks scattered across the United States. Unfortunately, not every one is guaranteed a splash-tastic time while venturing down the lazy river or free falling from a gigantic water slide.

According to statistics, drowning is the second most common cause of death among children under the age of 10. What’s more, tragedy can strike in less than two minutes after a child’s head goes under the water. That leaves very little time for parents to react. It also makes it critical to educate yourself and your young children about water safety.

The American Red Cross and the World Waterpark Safety Association have come up with some great tips on how to stay safe at waterparks. Take a look:

Learn how to swim: The biggest favor you can do for your child is to enroll him or her into swim classes prior to visiting a waterpark.

Stick to the zero depth pools: These pools have water games, sprays, and fountains with no appreciable water depth, which makes them ideal for toddler and preschoolers, who do not know how to swim.

Follow age and height restrictions: Rules apply to many rides, so be prepared to find other ways to have fun if your preschooler isn’t old enough or tall enough to enjoy some of the thrill rides.

Look for Lifeguards. Be sure the area your child is playing in is well supervised by lifeguards.

Read all posted signs: Follow the rules and directions given by lifeguards. Ask questions if you are not sure about a procedure.

Pay attention to water depths: When you move from one attraction to another, note that the water depth may be different.

Life jackets: Some waterparks provide life jackets at no charge. If your child cannot swim, have him wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Use plenty of sunscreen: Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin to ensure maximum protection. In addition, consider placing a hat or sunglasses on your preschooler to prevent overexposure.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.