As temperatures go up, the first place American families think of going to is a water park or a splash pad. These aquatic play parks allow people to cool off and spend a fun time amidst the cooling water jets and wafting mist. Moreover, because they are interactive and accessible to all, splash pads have become quite popular across the country.
Splash pads or splash parks are essentially water parks designed for interactive and multisensory games and play spaces. They use a combination of ground sprays and above-ground water features like misters and sliders.
Unlike other water parks, splash pads do not have standing water, thus allowing kids to run around freely in a safe and inclusive environment. Yet, the safety of splash pads has always been a subject of concern for families with kids, splash pad operators, and equipment manufacturers.
Each year, thousands of kids land up in emergency rooms because of injuries that occurred on splash pads, water parks, and pool decks. Hence, in this guide, we will share the top things to consider when creating a safe splash pad for kids.
Pay Attention to Water Hygiene
As mentioned earlier, splash pads do not have standing water bodies. The sprayed water rinses contaminants down into the water holding area. If not treated, this contaminated water will be sprayed back into the air, increasing the risk of water-borne infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a Model Aquatic Health VCode (MAHC) which shares guidelines on UV treatment of water in the washrooms, showers, surface area, and baby changing stations. It also offers guidance on selecting the right water management system for the splash pad.
Make sure you install an efficient water management system to curb the proliferation of waterborne pathogens like giardia and E. coli.
Install a Safe Surface
Brushed concrete is the most commonly applied surface in splash pads. But the hard and unforgiving surface has been a major cause of serious accidents in kids visiting splash parks. The current advancement in synthetic flooring materials has brought in surfacing options that are better suited to stand up to the rigors of the summer heat, chlorinated moisture, and heavy foot traffic.
For instance, because of its safety potential and durability, rubber surfacing is emerging as a popular option in splash pads. Playground surface specialists and rubber surfacing experts are offering several options that meet the safety criteria and create an enjoyable experience for all.
What’s more, these surfaces are resistant to bacteria and algae growth, making them an ideal choice for splash pads. And in case of a slip or a fall, rubber surfaces are known to absorb the impact and reduce the risk of serious injuries.
Conduct Routine Checkup of the Equipment
Splash pad equipment is where all the action takes place. Kids have loads of fun on the merry-go-rounds, monkey bars, still rings, swings, and slides. That’s why it’s only fair to emphasize the fact that such equipment should be installed properly and maintained regularly.
Secondly, it’s key to maintain safe water pressure in the water toys. Failure to regulate the pressure in splash parks can lead to serious injuries. The recommended pressure is within 20 FPS (feet per second).
Finally, thoroughly examine each piece of equipment for hazards, missing screws, and potential pinch points.
Ensure Safety from Heat
Splash pads are open spaces for allowing maximum enjoyment. However, summers pose the risk of sunburns and dehydration in kids. Hence, it’s wise to install adequate shaded play spaces where kids can comfortably sit for a while.
Installing commercial shade structures and metal shelters can protect your patrons from the harsh outdoor elements, thereby allowing them to have a memorable experience.
Splash pads can be a blast. The water play provides a rich sensory experience for kids of all ages. However, it’s critical to maintain the safety of these spaces so that kids and elders can have an enjoyable experience.
Use the pointers shared in this post to create a safe and fun experience for all the kids visiting your splash park.