Defenders: top 4 dangers at the waterpark

DETROIT – Summer may be winding down, but temperatures in metro Detroit aren't -- which is leading families to head to the waterpark a few more times before the school year. After scouring police reports and lawsuits, the Local 4 Defenders have come up with some important waterpark safety points families should know about to make sure summer break doesn't end with a trip to the hospital.
The most common injuries are sunburn and overheating. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 80 minutes, and water is the best weapon to avoid dehydration. Also, shower before and after a swim. A lot of people in a concentrated area could pose the risk for bacteria, such as E.coli.

Personal injury lawyer Dondi Vesprini says small steps such a life jackets, not floaties, can help save lives. He also warns that water slides are one of the most common places at a waterpark for injuries. Swimmers need to follow the age, height and weight instructions/restrictions.


"The reason these types of rides have these types of restrictions on them is because kids that are under age or under height or under weight don't possess the physical body control or the physical strength to manage themselves on these types of extreme rides," Vesprini said.

Riders need to make sure the slide is clear before they go down. Many injuries happen when children collide with each other at the bottom of the slide.

Vesprini says swimmers should be cautious when a waterpark requires a waiver to be signed. But just because a waiver is signed doesn't mean the right to a safe environment is excused.

"What parents should know is in 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that those waivers are not binding on the children. So, they really carry no effect," Vesprini said.

He also insists that a lifeguard on duty is no guarantee for safety. While they are an extra set of eyes on children, it's the parent's responsibility to watch their children.

Parents should also remind children to not run around pools, decks, stairs and other slippery surfaces. The "buddy system" is also a good practice.

For more safety information, visit the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.