Everything you need to know before you head to the splash pad park.
As a new mom, splash pads are as new to me as they are to my son. They didn’t exist when I was growing up and now it seems like almost every town has at least one splash pad park. I have even seen them outside of shopping centers. The reason splash pads are so amazing for small children is that they have little to no standing water. This means no swimming is required! Another perk is splash pads are almost always free. Preparing for the first trip to the splash pad can be a bit confusing, so here are some splash pad park tips to help you prepare!
Splash Pad Safety
First and foremost is safety. At 8 months old, my son cannot walk by himself, but he LOVES the splash pad. The CDC reports baby’s can drown in just 1″ of water. It is really important to pay attention and not leave your baby unattended, even if he or she can sit up on their own. KidsHealth.org reports even toddlers can drown in 2″ of water, so be vigilant! If your kiddo wants to explore without your assistance, keep a close eye out. Splash pads often have at least one water feature that unexpectedly spills over a lot of water with little (or no) warning.
Another splash pad hazard is slipping. The other day, I saw an eight year old come around a corner too quickly and wipe out pretty hard. She didn’t cry, but she immediately wrapped up in a towel and sat with her mom. One way to prevent this is to have your child wear water shoes.
Another safety tip for splash pads if to wear sunscreen. Apply the sunscreen before you leave the house and make sure you are apply a high SPF. Reapply according to the directions on the sunscreen. And remember, babies under 6 months should not wear sunscreen (or be in the sun long enough to require it!). See more children’s sunscreen tips here.
What To Wear To The Splash Pad
Since your kids will get pretty wet, a swimming suit is the best outfit for the splash pad. Water shoes are also a good idea to avoid scrapes and falls. My son’s swimming suit includes a long sleeve water shirt with UPF protection. And, I always make him wear a hat. I realize not all kids are cool with hats, but if they will tolerate it, put a hat on.
As for me, figuring out what to wear to splash pad was a bit challenging. I am totally comfortable in a bikini at the pool, but it seemed a bit odd to wear one at the splash pad. I wore shorts and tank top the first few times, but was totally soaked on the way home. I finally purchased a tankini swimming suit top that I wear with board shorts. This way, I can lean over to help my little guy walk around without worrying about the girls falling out. I can also squat down and lean over without worrying if I am flashing anyone. If you have a one piece swimming suit you could wear it with some board shorts. If you prefer to stay more covered, anything from a tank top to a long sleeve sun shirt would be great- just make sure it is okay to get wet.
Other Splash Pad Park Tips:
- Bring snacks
- Plan the visit to last less than hour (my son loves it for about 20-30 minutes)
- Figure out if the splash pad park you are going to has a bathroom or not before you get there
- Throw a few band-aids in your pool bag
- Bring an extra set of clothes to change after
- Plan to change in the car (many splash pads do not have great changing areas)
- Do not bring water toys
Splash Pad Packing List
- Swimming suit with long sleeve swim shirt or rash guard (put it on before you arrive!)
- Sunscreen (put it on before you arrive and reapply as needed)
- Towel (at least one per child and one for you)
- Swim shoes
- Sun Hat
- Swim Diapers
- Snacks & Water
- Bag to Bring Home Wet Clothes
- Face Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
What are you splash pad tips? Please share below!