How to Take the "Wild" Out of a "Wet and Wild" Waterpark Vacation
Summer vacation at a waterpark can be hours of entertaining fun with your friends and family. But, you also want to stay safe at a waterpark. With all kinds of waterslides and pools that you and your kids can enjoy, you want everyone to have a good time without any mishaps. Whether you’re travelling to a waterpark like Blizzard Beach in Orlando, World Waterpark in Edmonton, or Tropical Island in Germany, here are some safety precautions to help you enjoy your stay - and play.
Splish and Splash But a Few Precautions
A few suggestions on swimming lessons and travel insurance can help you prepare for your trip. Knowing the park rules and planning on how to monitor kids can help you during your trip. And, setting aside time for rest, meals and hydration can ensure everyone has a good time and enjoys a healthy vacation.
Before You Leave
Swimming Lessons, Rules and Travel Insurance
- If you and your kids don’t know how to swim, take lessons. Waiting until you get to a waterpark isn’t the time. There’s too much excitement with other children running and playing.
- While you have time, check the waterpark’s website for any rules or restrictions. Take note of height requirements for children’s rides and note where lifeguards will be stationed (if applicable).
- Purchase travel insurance for everyone in your group. This is especially helpful if you're visiting a waterpark outside of your home province. If you need emergency care, or even a trip to the doctor, travel insurance is a necessity.
Downtime, Naps and Belongings
- Plan how you will spend the day. Waterparks are often large, noisy, and crowded. It’s easy to lose track of your kids with so many other children there. And, kids can tire out quickly. Plan downtime for meals, naps and time out of the sun.
- A few questions: How will you keep track of your kids' phones, money for snacks, water shoes and inflatable toys? Will each child have a fanny pack with their ID or lanyard necklaces?
Checking In and Playtime
- If the waterpark is large, will you meet at specific times of the day? And, where? And, will you communicate by phone? Or, walkie-talkie? If you're visiting a country like Germany or China, how will you handle the language barrier?
- Will one adult in your group supervise playtime, meals and downtime? Are you travelling with other families? Or, in a large group? Map out how to ensure every child is supervised. A buddy system with one older person responsible for one or two children might be a suggestion.
- How will kids check in with adults and find adults in a crowded waterpark? By a specific landmark like the concession stand or lifeguard station? Or with a neon hat and brightly coloured shirt?
- If a child gets sick to their stomach or has a small cut, who can help with the other children while an adult tends to the child needing attention?
At the Waterpark
Managing Play Time for Children
- Once you arrive, it can be non-stop fun for kids. But, adults need to pay careful attention to little ones to keep everyone safe.
- Toddlers and preschoolers should always stay within arm’s length of an adult and always have on some sort of flotation aid. Personal flotation devices approved by Transport Canada are your best bet, but many families make do with inflatable floaties. Floaties can be unreliable in stopping a child from drowning as they can slip off. So, always watch your children even if they have floaties on and a lifeguard is present. Never get intoxicated or distracted with your children in the water. And, if you're going to nap, have another trusted adult in your group watch the kids.
- Keep the children in your line of sight at all times. Neon swimsuits in the same colour can make it easier to spot your kids.
- Older children who are in high school or middle school can have more freedom to explore the waterpark. But, keep them in the immediate area. If they move to a different location of the waterpark, they should go together and check-in with you at regular intervals. Everyone should have a watch on or smartphone in a waterproof bag.
- Remind your kids that rough play in a waterpark is not allowed. There should be no pushing, running, or throwing to ensure safe play.
- Never let children ingest water from waterslides or pools. These can contain bacteria and fecal matter that can make them very sick.
- Avoid wearing flip-flops. Water shoes can provide more traction underfoot.
- Note the size or age restriction for every ride or slide. As children come down off a ride or slide, a parent should be there. Don’t assume lifeguards can see every child.
- Find out where the First Aid area is located.
- Take time out of the sun to prevent sunburns and heatstroke. Heatstroke can leave a child with a flushed look to their skin and a high body temperature. They might feel faint, become irritable, get confused or become tired. They may not be able to sweat or they may have difficulty breathing and start to swagger. Alert a lifeguard or attendant right away.
- Apply waterproof SPF regularly and reapply regularly. Bring sun hats and sunglasses.
- Find a spot in the shade for meals and to rehydrate. Give kids water, not soft drinks. Let them rest, eat and get plenty of water at regular intervals. Make sure everyone uses hand sanitizer and washes their hands. Shower after the waterpark and wipe excess water off younger children after they were in the pool or a water slide. Chemicals used for sanitizing the water can be very strong. For younger children, apply moisturizer after a bath to rehydrate their skin and stop a rash from developing.
- Keep children under the age of six out of whirlpools and hot tubs. They may not realize if they become overheated and need to get out.
Waterparks to Visit Overseas
Depending on where you want to travel overseas, there is a host of fun waterparks you might enjoy exploring together with your family.
Aquaventure Waterpark, Dubai, UAE
With an Atlantis layout and design, the Aquaventure waterpark uses more than 18 million litres and is set on 17 hectares. And, it's one of the largest waterparks. Don't miss the dolphin performance, cownose ray feedings or the shark safari. Check out the Leap of Faith ride that stands nine-stories high (27.5 metres). You can see nearby sharks and rays through the clear tubing as you take the plunge!
Tropical Islands, Krausnick, Germany
Ready for the biggest indoor waterpark in the world? You would think you were outside at Tropical Islands. The indoor waterpark has an artificial beach with a scenic sky background and real palm trees. Their rainforest includes nearly 50,000 tropical plants and they have a relaxing spa for mom and dad. Don't miss the hot-air balloon ride over the park.
World Waterpark, Edmonton, Alberta
Looking for the biggest wave pool? You've found it. This waterpark includes a flowrider surf simulator, zip line, slides and bungee jumping area. Check out the cyclone rides and slideboarding. Rent a cabana for a little relaxation. And, look for Nessie's Revenge, the tallest slide that offers a zero-gravity, don't-lose-your-lunch experience!
Happy Magic Water Cube, Beijing, China
As the biggest waterpark in China, there are a ton of activities. From fun slides and indoor shows to the Aqualoop 76 metre water slide, get ready for fun. Don't miss the flatline loop, rain fortress or the colourful Whizzard. Set on 33 hectares, it can house 30,000 people and is the second biggest attraction after the Great Wall of China.
Blizzard Beach Waterpark at Disney, Orlando, Florida
You'll think the forecast is chilly when you see the ice and snow formations on these waterslides. But, it's only snow-themed at this faux ice resort. Don't miss the Summit Plummet waterslide that resembles a ski lift. Hop on a sled or float on a nearby iceberg. Brrr, baby!
Safeguard Your Waterpark Adventure with the Best Travel Insurance Rates
Whether you visit a local waterpark or one overseas, keeping your family safe can ensure everyone has a good time. Stay together, keep a close eye on little ones and take breaks in the shade with plenty of fluids. Have your family take swimming lessons and don't rely on floaties or lifeguards even if they're nearby.
With InsuranceHotline.com, you can compare insurance quotes from Canada's leading travel insurers and you might save up to 20 percent on rates (that's more money for waterpark rides!). Compare travel insurance quotes here.