[08/26] Shallow depths belie hazards as water parks’ popularity grows

By ROGER SCHNEIDER Associated Press

August 26, 2015

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – The number of water parks and people splashing around in them are growing, but experts say their shallow waters belie hazards.

Concern is growing about risks present even when most water park water is shallower than 3 feet. People who aren’t good swimmers mixed with the unexpected hit of waves and falls can lead to injuries or even drownings. In July, one drowning and at least three near-drownings were reported at U.S. water parks.

Brian Machemer trains lifeguards at Rolling Hills Water Park in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan. He says water rescues there are common.

The American Red Cross has taken note. As a leading trainer of lifeguards, it has added training for extreme shallow water rescues. It was designed for water parks and the injuries that can occur in them.