Most amusement parks present themselves out to the public as an opportunity for safe family fun and entertainment. We like to think of laughter, smiles, and golden “Kodak moments.” As experienced amusement park safety advocates, we understand that a patron’s safety should always be priority number one. However, many national amusement parks continue to operate water slides knowing that they are dangerous due to the lifting of rafts and high pressure impacts on the side or guardrails. Water slide safety is directly affected by water flow, water cushion, ride speed, ride spin, and the size of the patron resulting in how the patron impacts with the surface of the slide and ride.
Dangerous Water Parks
Our skilled amusement accident experts and advocates have seen certain identical injuries on the same water slide with different “catchy” names throughout the United States, which indicates to us that park management was aware and forewarned of the risk of injuries.
We believe that many water parks continue to allow patrons to use knowingly dangerous water slides, despite known problems, and that they fail to properly assess and address these risks prior to allowing fun seeking patrons to use the slide. Many water slides have a water flow in excess of 2,000 gallons per minute creating a substantial high velocity wave down the tube. Many times the wave can be a few feet high. If a rider impacts a perpendicular flow of water at a high rate of speed in an uncontrolled environment, the patron can be thrown into the rails or even off the ride. If there is a violent impact with the buttocks and lower back of the rider against the solid surface of the slide, it goes without saying that the possibility for burst fractures and possible paralysis exist.
The water flow volume of each water slide is controllable by each individual park and is a critical element of the safety of the slide and it is essential to control the water flow to minimize the size of the wave and possibility of injuries. Improper operation, management, or maintenance of a water slide often results in severe spinal injuries with devastating lifetime consequences.