Florida weather and the desire for summer fun lead many to the fun of water slides and lazy rivers available at water parks. Water Parks hold many benefits. It is a fantastic resource for parents where they can allow their children to release energy while stimulating cognitive development and creativity. Water parks offer children the opportunity to develop crucial social and motor skills while encouraging children to share, take turns, and follow the rules. In the end, parents take home children who are emotionally and physically satisfied and ready for a day of rest.
However, water parks can also pose numerous dangers. Outside of the numerous fatal and non-fatal drownings, many fail to see the potential dangers associated with visits to theme and water parks. Science Daily in 2019 reported that crime rates increased by 198% in neighborhoods within a mile of Universal theme parks in Orlando, FL, attracting more than 9 million visitors a year. Theme park tourism tops records in the summer as many frequent water parks as a way to entertain their families and escape the heat and humidity of the Florida weather. It is essential that you take steps to help keep your family safe while at water parks.
Below are tips that can help you during your water park trip
● Know Before You Go
Prior to venturing to the water park, many will ask themselves the following questions:
● Can everyone within your group swim?
● Is your child tall enough to go down the water slide?
● Are there any specific rules that are set by the park?
While these questions are extremely important to know, how do these keep you and your family safe from outside crime? Prior to venturing to a waterpark, you should research the security and safety offered at the park you are planning to visit. In 2017, there was a total of 6,198 violent and proper crimes recorded in the Orlando area at the local theme parks. What actions has this theme park taken to combat this issue?
In addition to those previously asked questions, consider finding out if:
● Does this water park offer lockers where you can secure and protect your personal belongings?
● Is there on-staff security available?
● How well do you know this park?
These are all questions that you can answer prior to loading up your group to venture out for a day of water fun. By having these answers, you can begin to prepare yourself and your group for a safe day.
If available, check out the park’s website prior to your arrival. This website will hold valuable information and will provide you with an avenue to resolve potential issues that may arrive. The website will provide you with contact information for Guest Services, as well as a way to report lost items.
● Pack Wisely
When preparing for a day in the sun, there is a number of must-haves. Sunscreen, hats, polarized glasses, or sunshades, and if allowed, bring a reusable water bottle. It is vital that you hydrate. Excessive exposure to the Florida sun can be especially damaging, and you can easily suffer from sunstroke, heat exhaustion, sunburns, and skin cancers.
Yet, when going to a water park, you don’t need to bring everything under the sun with you. Leave your valuables at home and anything that you have in your vehicle. Ensure that you lock it away in your trunk. By locking these items away in your trunk, you can reduce the risk of an opportunist thief damaging your vehicle and stealing your property.
Common concerns many consider when visiting water parks are such crimes as theft or robbery. Both crimes involve a person knowingly taking another’s property with the intent of keeping or benefiting from the property themselves. Charges for these offenses can vary from misdemeanor to felony depending on the severity; however, this means that convictions can result in extensive imprisonment and/or heavy fines. Crime statistics show that such crimes as pick-pocketing, theft, and robbery are rare occurrences in Orlando theme and water parks. However, you should never make yourself an easy target or make the assumption that it would never happen to you. Instead, opt to prepare yourself by remaining vigilant in the park to the potential of crime.
● Prepare Your Kids
As of June 2023, City-Data.com revealed that there were approximately 2,487 registered sex offenders living in the Orlando area. This number does not account for individuals who may have been convicted of sex crimes that could be traveling with their families to visit the area. Presently, theme and water parks do not have a successful way to screen for sex offenders who may attempt to visit the park. As a parent, we must do whatever is possible to ensure the safety of our children while visiting these areas. Talk to your child about the rules you want to set to ensure that they remain safe during this visit. Take the time to set up a buddy system, ensuring that your child is always under adult supervision and never alone or in a situation where harm could befall them. Furthermore, you should also set up a meet-up location if anyone happens to get lost or separated while in the park.
Also, remember, water parks see numerous drownings each year. Lifeguards are just one preventative measure against drowning. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to supervise a child and ensure their safety. Failure to properly supervise your child could result in such charges as child neglect or abuse. There are cases where parents can be charged with child abuse if a child is found to not be monitored and in danger. In Florida, charges of child abuse could mean a third-degree felony which holds a maximum of 5 years imprisonment or probation, in addition to a fine of up to $5,000.
● Drink Responsibly
If the water park authorizes or sells alcohol, you should ensure that you are drinking responsibly. Not only are you still responsible for watching your children while at the park, and intoxication makes ensuring their safety extremely difficult. In recent years, theme and water parks have become a breeding ground for unexpected violence. Many individuals have been charged with such crimes as disorderly conduct or assault, which can be connected to being intoxicated during the incident. While some of these charges may result in a misdemeanor offense, depending on the severity and the danger you may have posed to others around. You could face a felony charge which could result in imprisonment and fines.
Play It Safe!
Follow our tips and the water park rules. There are a number of water parks with security to ensure you abide by the rules and guidelines within the park. While failing to follow the rules may equate to being expelled from the water park. Some of the rules could result in you going to jail. The rules can range from assault, theft, or causing danger to others will result in local law enforcement being called in.
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