June 11, 2009
CDC: Splash parks can cause child illness
State and local governments should consider taking precautions to prevent waterborne illness associated with splash parks, U.S. health officials advise.
A report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report said that splash parks are increasingly popular recreational water venues where waterborne illness outbreaks can occur and therefore local and state officials should consider requiring pre-construction health department consultation, suitable disinfection technology, appropriate hygiene facilities and education of splash park operators and the public.
Splash parks are designed to allow young children, often non-toilet trained, to play in the water with little risk for drowning, the report said.
Splash parks are often easily accessible, unmonitored, free for visitors and unregulated.
The report describes an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, a condition caused by Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes watery diarrhea. The outbreak occurred at an unregulated splash park that lacked public health oversight, adequate hygiene facilities, and ultraviolet disinfection technology, an effective treatment against Cryptosporidium., the report said.