Summers in Iowa are notorious for being hot and humid. One of the best ways to beat the heat in the summertime is to visit a water park. Before you go, make sure to follow these 5 tips to stay safe during your water adventure:
- Stay hydrated – You would think with all the water around, remembering to drink plenty of H20 would be easy. However, being out in the sun and playing in the water can dehydrate you and the kids faster than you’d think. Set reminders on your phone to pull everyone out of the pool for water breaks every couple of hours. These breaks will also be reminders to reapply sunscreen and visit the bathroom.
- Wear sunscreen – Sunscreen is a must during the summer for anyone, even those with darker skin. Damage from the sun can still occur even if you do not get sunburned, so it is important to apply and then reapply sunscreen during your time at the park or pool.
Even “waterproof” sunscreen isn’t actually waterproof – it will wear off after 90 minutes or so. This makes reapplying as important as the first coat of sunscreen.
Make sure you use sunscreen on any body part that isn’t covered by clothing, including:
- Tops of feet and hands
- Ears (even if your child has long hair)
- Scalp (if your child has thin hair, or parts their hair a certain way)
Sunscreen needs to soak into the skin before it’s fully effective. Make sure to apply the first coat before you leave the house so you’ll be protected as soon as you get to the water park.
Don’t forget to cover your lips as well. You can buy lip balm with sunscreen in it to properly cover your mouth.
- Keep your young children in shallow areas or on splash pads – Most water parks have “zero-depth” pool areas for those children who are too young to swim. These feature sprays, fountains, and other activities that will keep your little one cool and safe without being in danger.
- Only swim where there is a lifeguard posted – The more pairs of eyes on your family, the better. Lifeguards can help provide that extra protection. If and when the lifeguards are taking breaks, you should take a break too. This will serve as another reminder to drink water and reapply sunscreen.
- Wear life jackets – The Red Cross recommends that if your children can’t swim or are less than four feet tall, they should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket whenever they are in or near water. Many water parks and pools will provide life jackets for free. Call the water park before you go to see if they supply these or let you bring your own.
Be aware that water wings and other inflatable armbands are not recognized as suitable swim aids and should not be treated like life jackets.
Stay safe, and have fun!