Water, puddles, and splashing all around, oh my! Splash pads have become a favorite place to spend time with my 15 month old. I love the fact that we can have hours of fun in the outdoors for free. However, like most free things, a lot of people tend to join the splash pad party and sometimes rules and etiquette fall by the
wayside. Since a lifeguard or authority figure does not always oversee splash pad areas, it is important for parents and children to follow some basic etiquette when enjoying the water fun. Most splash pad areas have a sign posted of basic rules to follow when in the splash pad area, but here are a few additional rules and unspoken etiquette that should be followed.
1. Be Alert - Splash pads are (or should be) a spectator sport for most parents. We aren’t often splashing around with our Littles - but we should still be watching them! As a mom, I have noticed that, far too often when visiting the splash pad, parents don’t keep a close watch on their kids. If you keep your eyes on your Littles you can help them avoid injury, issues with other kids, or worse, the scariest thing ever, your kiddo wandering off. Being alert keeps your child safe and makes the splash pad more enjoyable for everyone.
2. Food Areas - A picnic here, a picnic there, but not in the splash pad! Food goes hand and hand when going on any adventure with kids but it is important that food stays outside of the splash pad area. No one wants to step on your toddler’s soggy crackers or get their jelly on their cute swim diaper! Even more importantly than that, you want to avoid exposing kids to allergens and making them sick. With 1 in 13 children having a food allergy, it is possible that a child at the splash pad could be allergic to the food you brought with you - whether mildly or severely. It is also a good idea that you wash your little ones hands (or wipe them down with baby wipe) after eating and before re-entering the splash pad.
3. Dress for the Part - This is probably the number one etiquette rule that gets broken at splash pads. Signs at splash pads clearly state that children who aren’t potty trained must wear a swim diaper when in the area. I would prefer stepping on your kid’s soggy cracker to the other options of unpleasant surprises! Please be considerate and have a swim diaper on your child when in splash pad area. Swim diapers are specifically designed to keep your little comfortable, while keeping those messy accidents at bay and keeping the area sanitary for all the Little splashers!
4. Germs, Germs, Stay Away - Help avoid spreading germs by staying away if your child is sick. Even though splash pads are highly chlorinated (water is treated for bacteria), the spread of a cold is usually through the air by coughing or sneezing. If you or your little one are showing signs of illness stay at home. Celebrate being well with a healthy day of sunshine and fresh air after your Little is all better! Even then, respect social distancing ettiquette.
5. Can I Bring This? - We have all heard this question time and time again. Your little one wants to bring that special toy with them to the splash park; so do you let them? Bringing any toy to a splash park to play with in the water can have its pros and cons. Pros can include keeping your child busy and more engaged while enjoying their time in the water. Your Little could possibly make friends and learn life lessons by sharing the toy with others. Cons may include the toy getting lost or damaged. Kids can have fights over the toy, which can create splash pad tantrums. So what do you do? First, some splash pads don’t allow toys anyways (check posted rules). If rules do allow a toy, make sure the toy is water friendly, not sharp, and cannot be used to bother another child (water guns come to mind). One of my favorite water toys are the mesh soft bath animals that come in many fun ocean figurine designs. We recommend washing the toys when you get home so the splash pad germs don’t come home with you. If you’re ever in doubt if a toy is splash pad friendly, I say leave it at home; better safe than sorry.
Next time you gear the family up to enjoy the splash pad be sure to follow these basic etiquette standards to make everyone’s water experience enjoyable and fun.
Author: Karissa Sargent
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reesetriplets and @