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How to avoid water park injuries

When it's hot out in the middle of summer, a water park is probably the best place in the world to visit -- unless an accident happens.

There are several common types of accidents that result in both visits to the emergency room and personal injury lawsuits. In order to avoid them, you need to keep the following things in mind:

Don't get in the water if you don't know how to swim.

Only a little more than half of the people in the United States actually know how to swim. If you don't, you're at a serious disadvantage in a water park. While a lot of parks have shallow pools that don't seem threatening, it's quite possible to drown in just a few feet of water.

Take the time to sign up for a few swimming classes before you hit the water parks this year -- your safety is worth the time and effort it takes.

Establish expectations with your younger family members.

It's only natural that kids and teenagers will get excited at a water park -- so set the rules down ahead of time. Let your kids know that the park has rules about their behavior and you expect them to follow those rules. In addition, assign each member of the family a "buddy," so that someone is always watching out for everyone else when they're not directly in your sight. A simple bump on the head could put one of the kids underwater -- so help them understand the importance of the rule.

Make a "no running and no diving" rule.

Slips and falls are some of the most dangerous events that can happen at a water park. A dive into the shallow end or an accidental fall off the side of the pool could lead to broken bones, brain injuries and spinal trauma. While it could happen simply by slipping on a wet surface or by tripping over something carelessly left on the ground, the odds of a bad fall dramatically increase when people run near a pool or try to perform dives. Enforce a ban on both.

With these rules in place, you can enjoy your time at the water park -- without an unnecessary accident ruining your summer!

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