Health Concerns with Water Parks
Most kids are aware of the rules of water parks, such as no rough housing or running, because they don’t want to fall and hurt themselves. Most parents are aware of some of the potential safety hazards of water parks like falling on slippery surfaces, and watching young children to prevent drowning, but another possibility is the potential health hazards that creep below the surface of water. It is important to also be aware of the health risks that are possible from swimming and playing at water parks.
Kids love to splash around and swim under water and sometimes kids can accidentally swallow water when swimming or when going down water slides. Swallowing chlorine water or even worse, inhaling it, can be very dangerous, causing difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Chlorine can also make the effects of asthma worse, for those that suffer from it. Not only that, but chlorine can also cause eye redness and irritation as well as skin rashes and irritation. Make sure your children know not to drink or swallow any water at the water park and to hold their breath when they jump in the pool or get to the bottom of a water slide. Also, make sure to take breaks from the water throughout the day, rather than being in it for hours at a time. Rinsing off in the shower right after getting out of the water is also a good idea to for preventing skin irritation and rashes.
Athlete’s foot is a very common result of walking barefoot in an area with a wet ground. Wet pool sides and concrete are covered in fungus and bacteria. When bare feet are exposed to this fungus, it can stay on the skin, if feet are not rinsed thoroughly after exposure. Athlete’s foot can cause irritation, dry and flaky skin, itchiness, and can spread to other family and friends. Athlete’s foot may be less likely to occur if children wear swim shoes or flip flops when walking around the water park. When you are finished with the water, be sure to rinse and dry both feet.
Thousands of people go in and out of the water at water parks all summer long. With everyone sharing the same water, even with chlorine and other cleaning agents in the water, bacteria and microorganisms are floating in and around the park that your children can be exposed to. Some of these could be E. coli, Legionnaires’ disease, cryptosporidium, and many others, which can cause waterborne illnesses. These bacteria and microorganisms can be very serious and can lead to vomiting, seizures, or even death when they grow and spread. It is especially important that children do not swallow or drink the water because of these bacteria. These bacteria spread from urine and fecal matter, so do not allow young children who are not potty trained yet to go in the water without a swim diaper.
Make sure you go over the rules of the water park before your children go in the water. To prevent these health hazards from occurring, take occasional breaks from the water and sun, young children should be taught to not swallow the water, and wash off the feet and body when out of the water and at the end of the day.