Dangers you need to avoid at amusement parks this summer

Wild Water manager explains lifeguard training
There are dangers at amusement parks families should avoid. (Source: WMBF News)
There are dangers at amusement parks families should avoid. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Thousands turn to area water parks every summer to cool off and have fun. Through a WMBF News Investigation, we found there are dangers you need to make sure your family avoids while at the park.

A review of Department of Health and Environmental Control routine inspections show slides and pools at three separate Grand Strand waters parks were closed 16 times from 2013-2015.

Two closures were at Family Kingdom's Splashes Oceanfront Water Park, both in 2014. Four happened at Wild Water and Wheels in Surfside Beach, and ten were at Myrtle Waves. Six of the Myrtle Waves attractions were closed on the same day, September 5, 2015.

Typically, the closures happen because of a chemical balance issue, something that can be remedied quickly.

"Every 15 minutes the pools are checked for the chemicals, it's logged," said Devin Treat, general manager at Wild Water and Wheels. "You can get everything balanced rather quickly with our system. It's computer based systems. If the chemicals are off it will take a very short amount of time."

Treat's team actually starts working on getting the pools and slides ready at 3 a.m. each day. The park opens seven hours later.

Dr. Ron Reynolds with Beach family Urgent Care says the patients he usually sees from water parks are dealing with minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, but a chemical issue in the water can have serious effects.

"The main thing you're going to see with the chlorine being too high a lot of people have skin sensitivities," Dr. Reynold said. "It also tends to affect people's breathing. Low chlorine is the other side of the spectrum where you're worried about picking up some bacteria content, drinking in some of the water and getting infections from that."

Inspectors noted other issues that closed water park attractions. The Big Speed Slide at Myrtle Waves was closed because the inspector said the light on the pool wall was missing and wires were exposed. No one was on the slide, but the pool inspector noted it was open to the public.

We reached out to all three parks to talk about the measures in place to keep your family safe. Myrtle Waves was the only one to decline an interview. The park did release a statement.

"As the park operator, our goal is to maintain a safe and fun environment for our guests. On occasion, we may close an attraction should an issue arise that needs to be addressed.  We do this voluntarily, regardless of the manner in which we are alerted to a particular circumstance.  We are conscious of the impact on our guests and try to alert them about closures as much as possible whether it's a short term or a more longer term issue.  We strive to have all of our attractions operating 100% of the time. Sometimes maintenance and mechanical issues occur where there is no lead time and we deal with those circumstances accordingly. We are committed to providing a great guest experience at Myrtle Waves."

Dr. Reynolds told us his message to parents is to always protect your family from the sun. Find a shady spot at the park. Use a strong sunscreen. Keep antibiotic ointment and water proof band aids handy. Keep the family hydrated. And always know where your child is.

DIG DEEPER: View dozens of reports for attractions across our area here. Warning: this file is very large - viewing it on a mobile connection is not recommended.

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