Health and Wellness: Splash pads are fun alternative for young children

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief
Kids enjoy the splash pad at Waukee's Fox Creek Park on opening day in 2019.

For children too young for swimming pools, splash pads are a fun alternative. Timid children enjoy playing around the edge, and for bolder children, the fountains are amazing. Here are some cautions for parents and caregivers.

Splash pads can spread germs and make users sick if the water is not adequately disinfected. The only splash pad that your Dallas County Health Department currently inspects is in Waukee’s Fox Creek park. Other splash pads in Dallas County are not considered aquatic venues requiring oversight of disinfection with germ-killing chemicals.

Before they enter a splash pad, wash your children’s diaper area and take all children on bathroom breaks/diaper checks hourly. Anyone who has diarrhea must stay out of the water. Discourage children from letting water get in their mouths. Don’t sit or stand on the water jets, because this basically creates a bidet, rinsing anything on your behind into the water.

Another splash pad hazard is the potential for falls. Shallow water warms quickly, allowing algae and other organisms to grow on the splash pad surface. Children love to joyfully run through water, but running on a hard and slippery pad invites trauma. Do your best to slow the running.