No-one expects an emergency when they head out for a fun time at a water park or pool, even with young children or teens in tow. And most of the time these places are safe enough, with relatively few accidents despite their huge popularity and visitor numbers. Accidents do happen though, and one of the best ways of avoiding them is by being aware of what types of accidents take place and the situations when they commonly occur.

Emergency #1 – Trips and Slips

Water parks and pools do all they can to make surfaces slip-proof, but it’s still possible to lose your footing and take a tumble. Falling on hard surfaces can cause severe injuries including:

  • Fractures
  • Spinal chord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia

Tripping and falling into a pool can also lead to drowning, either because you get injured during the fall or through panic.

Tripping hazards are equally common, and you’ll see them wherever you look around pools and in water parks. These are usually caused by items such as towels, water toys or floats, bags or clothing which are left lying in inappropriate locations.

Keep a close eye on children, in particular, and set some ground rules such as not running and taking care on steps leading into pools.

Emergency #2 – Teen High Spirits

We tend to think young children are most at risk around water, but a surprising number of teens get into trouble too.

This is often because teens move faster, feel more peer pressure to take risks and are more inclined to try and impress their friends. In the United States, of the ten people who die from drowning every day, 20 percent are under 14 and most of them are boys.

Some of the risks teens take include diving into shallow water and taking part in general horseplay that can result in emergencies. Pools and water parks have a code of behavior that’s designed to keep visitors safe, but making your own expectations clear beforehand will also help.

Because teens are more independent and likely to want to either visit a pool or water park alone with friends – or leave your side to socialize with friends once you’re there – make sure they know the importance of keeping an eye on each other. When spirits and energy are high, they often don’t recognize when someone is in real trouble in the water.

Emergency #3 – Hazards to Toddlers and Young Children

Small children can drown in as little as two inches of water, and it can happen fast, within just a few minutes. Being less steady on their feet, they also fall more easily and being small, are easily pushed into pools by accident. Keep an eye on them every moment of the time and don’t let them wander off. Lifeguards on duty do their utmost to fully monitor every area, but even with the best of intentions they simply can’t have eyes everywhere at once. It’s important parents take a proactive role in toddler safety.

Learning to Swim

Teaching children to swim is one of the best ways of keeping them safe around water parks and pools.

Only 56 percent of Americans know how to swim, and fewer still are strong or confident swimmers. Whether you teach children to swim yourself or enroll them in lessons at a local pool, knowing how to swim could save their life. Being able to swim also opens up many more possibilities for safe and confident fun and sport in water.

In Houston, there are plenty of places where you can find Swim Classes and Pools.

Places to Visit

Houston has water parks and pools galore. Here are a few places to visit:

YMCA of Greater Houston

This is a great place for water fun for all the family, where you can take part in water exercises, learn to swim and even join the swim team. They also run lifeguard training courses and teach drowning prevention.

Splash Town

Houston’s largest water park, filled with water rides and slides, wave pools and kiddie pools where everyone can indulge their love of water. When you’re tired of splashing about, there are shopping and dining venues to enjoy.

Houston Aquatics

The free pools are open to all ages as long as a guardian or parent accompanies children under 8 years old. This site lets you know which pools are open and provides contact details as well as advice on what to wear and take with you to the pool. There are also details of water fitness and swimming classes.

Being aware of possible emergencies and dangers doesn’t mean you should avoid water parks or pools. They’re great family places and, with care, are safe too.

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