How to Have Healthy Fun at the Water Park

Meet Dr. Rob Darzynkiewicz, Chief Medical Officer at Hazel Health. 

As the temperatures rise and rise this summer, nothing feels quite as good as going for a swim. Summertime is for lakes, oceans, pools and…water parks. While water parks are a blast, here’s how your family can make sure they’re having the best time. 

At Hazel Health, our school nurse partners have seen children with eye irritations, sunburns and rashes from time spent at water parks. It’s so easy to avoid health issues like these and have a great time.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Chlorinated water can still have germs! Some bacteria can still survive in chlorinated water and cause irritations. Signs of irritations can include eye infections (conjunctivitis), skin rashes (dermatitis), deep coughs (bronchitis), or even diarrhea. Watch your children for signs of irritation as they’re in the water.
  2. Practice “healthy swimming.” This means many things. Firstly, if your child isn’t feeling well (for example, sick with diarrhea) wait a few days until they feel better before going back outside and to the water park.
  3. Showering before entering a pool and exiting is important. This helps remove dirt and other particles found in the water. For younger kids, use a waterproof diaper and change it often to ensure kids stay clean. When it’s time for a change, I recommend washing their bottoms with soap and water and doing this in the bathroom away from the pool to avoid particles and contamination.
  4. Water park rides are not all created equal; a crowded wave pool is much different than the three-foot deep lazy river. Although lifeguards are specially trained at water parks, you want to make sure your child is playing in the appropriate part of the park for their size and age. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, children under 48”, non-swimmers or weak swimmers should wear a life vest. Set the rules before leaving the house to avoid issues at the pool. True drowning is often a child silently and desperately trying to keep their head above water. It’s easy to stay safe if you think ahead.
  5. Be mindful of the sun’s rays and take time to rest for 10 minutes every hour. This is a great time for kids to use the restroom, wash their hands, reapply sunscreen, stay hydrated and for you to hear about how much fun they’re having! 
  6. Finally, teach your kids on how they can stay safe and healthy this summer. Good advice includes: don’t pee in the pool, don’t swallow water, know what water park rides are safe, and always use the buddy system. 

Preventative care is easy; it can protect your children and give them lifelong lessons for healthy swimming.

Now go have fun! 

Dr. Rob spoke with Romper about water park safety. See his advice published here: https://www.romper.com/p/14-water-park-tips-from-pediatricians-so-you-your-kids-can-have-fun-17948726