Whether you are at an amusement park, outdoor waterpark, or indoor waterpark, water slides are perfect for the entire family to cool off and have fun on a hot day. These days, parks have been constantly expanding their options of water slides to add to the excitement, keep people coming back, and appeal to all ages. The main types of water slides that you will find at a park are inner tube slides, body slides, tunnel slides, slides in the dark, and raft rides. The best way to be prepared for a day at the waterpark is to be aware of potential risks on water slides, in order to be cautious and try to prevent accidents from happening.
Inner Tube Slides
Inner tube slides require the riders to sit or lay on top of an inflatable inner tube that gets sent down a slide filled with water. Inner tubes usually go a lot faster than body slides.
The main danger of inner tube slides is that riders can fall off of the tube. Many times parents wrongly assume that inner tube slides are safer because the tubes float, however, this may not be the case. The inner tubes gliding on the water can go very fast and are very difficult to control. If a rider lets go of their tube, they can fall off and get smacked with water or another rider. Riders who are going down the slide too fast may slam into other riders and send them flying off their tube or into the barriers of the slide.
The major risks of body slides are colliding with others at the bottom of the slide, hitting the sides of the water slide, and falling off the slide. Because riders are not riding on top of inner tubes, they can more easily smack their body against the slide while riding. This can also cause more injury if the rider collides with another at the bottom of the slide. When a rider does not have the protection of an inner tube, impact with another person can cause much more severe injuries.
Getting pinched or caught on ridges of the slide is a possibility, as well as hair of something else getting caught on cracks or parts of the slide. Water inhalation, drowning, and falling off the slide are some very serious injuries that can occur from body slides.
Tunnel slides can be dangerous because the rider is unable to see what is going on or where the end of the slide is when they are riding. Inexperienced riders may already have difficulty holding their breath while swimming and jumping into water. When a young rider, or any rider is going through a tunnel slide, they may not realize they are at the bottom, and accidentally breathe in water.
Another risk is that riders may hit their body or head against the sides or top of the slide while going down and get injured or knocked unconscious. Young riders may get anxious or scared while riding because they cannot see anything, and this may cause injuries when getting to the bottom.
Slides in the Dark
Slides that are in the dark can have similar risks as tunnel slides, because it is very difficult to see anything, and young children may panic and not be able to hold their breath or land safely at the bottom of the slide. Many injuries that result from slides in the dark are because people panic and start to breathe heavily, stick their arms out to stop, or try and sit up or move and end up hitting their head or body on the slide.
Raft rides are water rides that slide down a stream of water, sometimes while bumping against the sides of the water and spinning. The rafts usually hold 2-8 people and have seatbelts. The main concerns of this ride is hitting your body against the sides of the ride, or falling out of the ride. When the raft hits the sides of the ride, it can send the raft spinning and bumping into things and if someone’s body is hit by one of the sides, it can cause scrapes, lacerations, concussions, and broken bones.
Falling off of the raft can be very dangerous because that fallen rider can get separated from the raft and get stuck in the current, swept over by waves, or smacked into rocks, the sides, or another raft. There are usually not staff positioned all over the ride, and therefore, there are no eyes on you the whole time. If someone were to fall overboard, there would most likely be no one to help that person get out of the water or back onto the raft.
Water slides can be a blast but can also be dangerous and should be ridden with caution. Be sure to ride with young children if possible. If it is allowed, waiting in the pool at the bottom of the slide can be safer for your child when they drop into the water from the slide. Make sure that your children know to hold onto the handles of inner tubes, and try their best to hold their breath when they get to the bottom of the water slide. If you or your child has been injured on an inner tube or body slide, tunnel slide, slide in the dark, or raft ride, contact us immediately. Speaking with an attorney can help your family after an injury, and in filing a personal injury case.