Consumers Digest's March/April issue includes a story entitled: BACKGROUND
“Waterparks: Is Public Safety Going Down the Tubes?”
The reporter contacted IAAPA for comment citing injury data from a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) report. The data she uses states the number of injuries on “public water slides” requiring an emergency room visit increased over three years from 3,779 in 2009 to 5,200 in 2011. As you will read in the story the reporter's intent is to imply that more regulation – including federal oversight – will improve safety.
There is no evidence federal oversight would improve on the already excellent safety record of the industry.
In responding to the reporter, IAAPA worked with the World Waterpark Association (WWA). Both Chip Cleary, then-President and CEO of IAAPA, and Rick Root, President of WWA, conducted lengthy interviews with the reporter and provide information to help put the numbers in perspective and convey that visiting a water park and enjoying a water slide is a safe experience.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP BE PREPARED We recommend reviewing your own water slide safety information to prepare for questions that may arise from local reporters.Below please find the messages IAAPA delivered to the reporter.
IAAPA’s media relations team is here to help! If we can assist you prepare for media calls or should you need assistance responding to a media call, please contact David Mandt or Colleen Mangone at +1 703/836-4800 (9 – 5 EST) or +1 703/299-5127 (24-Hour Hotline). Also, you can refer any reporter to IAAPA for an industry perspective. You can also provide them with IAAPA’s tips to safely enjoy a water park.
- Safety is the industry’s top priority and we support strong regulation at the state level. However, there is no evidence that federal oversight will improve upon the excellent safety record.
- Injuries on water slides are extremely low. Approximately 83 million people visit water parks annually and enjoy more than 1.6 billion experiences on water slides annually.
- Most injuries occur when a patron is not following posted guidelines and rules. Safety is a partnership between the water park and the patrons. It is important that guests work with park staff to ensure a safe experience. Guests should understand enjoying a water park is an interactive, physical experience. They should know their own physical limitations.
- On those rare occasions when injuries occur, our members take care of the guest and then work to understand why the injury happened and how to prevent similar events in the future. They collect and review data and use it to constantly improve safety.
- Safety is woven into all we do from the design of an attraction (we continually refine safety standards through the ASTM process), to its manufacturing and installation, to annual state and local inspections, insurance operator inspections, and daily inspections all help ensure a safe experience.
- The CPSC concluded in 2003 that 100 U.S. hospital emergency rooms (used in the NEISS system) is not an accurate way to assess injury rates of fixed-site attractions. The hospitals reporting can change from year to year and the hospital’s proximity to a water park or a facility with a water slide can inaccurately skew the numbers.