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The Most Dangerous Summer Attraction: Facts on Water Park Accidents

True or False:

  1. High-speed roller coasters are more dangerous than water slides.
  2. Children are more likely to be hurt in a Go-Kart than a water slide.
  3. Water rides account for 20% of amusement park and carnival injuries.



Believe it or not, all of those statements are false.

In fact, according to a study by the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs, water park rides comprised 40% of the injuries sustained at amusement parks and carnivals in NJ over a five year period. Water slide injuries were more than twice as common as Go-Kart, roller coaster, and water rapids rides.

“Unlike rollercoasters, where people are tightly strapped in, water rides are largely unrestrained,” according to Tammori Petty, a spokesperson for the state Department of Community Affairs. “Water flow is still not an exact science and unpredictable things can happen.”

Now, most of those injuries were not life-threatening, but the fact remains that without proper safety measures, water parks can be the scene of serious slip and falls, head injuries, broken bones, drowning, or death.

Water parks are especially popular in land-locked states like Pennsylvania. Some favorite amusement parks and water parks in our home state include Dorney Park, Camelbeach Mountain Water Park, Kalahari Resorts, Great Wolf Lodge, Carousel Water and Fun Park, H2O Indoor Water Park, Sandcastle Water Park, and our local water park at Montage Mountain.

Even if a water park has posted warnings that you “swim at your own risk,” or a disclaimer in small print on their tickets saying that they are not responsible for any injuries sustained on their property, these warning may not hold up in the event of a personal injury lawsuit. The park and its employees may be liable for failing to provide a safe environment, especially if the park equipment is found to be defective, damaged, or poorly maintained.  Water park employees have a duty to warn patrons of the risks involved in their rides, and to provide adequate lifeguard training and supervision.

While water parks can be a fun way to spend time with family and friends, there are some important things to keep in mind in order to avoid a serious water park accident:

  • Young children and inexperienced or weak swimmers  should be wearing a life vest while enjoying water park rides.
  • Do not run on water park or poolside surfaces, as they are likely to be wet and slippery.
  • Read all posted instructions and follow park rules. Pay special attention to age requirements and restrictions, and determine which rides are appropriate for your child’s swimming experience level.
  • Children should be supervised by an adult at all times. Even if there is a lifeguard present, do not rely solely on them.  Lifeguards are tasked with watching large groups of people, and can easily miss things.
  • Stay hydrated, dress appropriately, and wear plenty of sunscreen. It is advisable to bring a hat, sunglasses, and loose clothing for when you’ve had enough sun.

If you or a loved one have been hurt during a visit to a water park or other amusement park, contact a personal injury lawyer at Munley Law. Our experienced lawyers will review your case, answer your questions, and help you determine the next steps to take. Send us an email, or call us, day or night, at 855-866-5529.

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