Grafton, Ill., June 28, 2011 ... With Independence Day right around the corner, many families are gearing up to enjoy a long, relaxing weekend at one of the many area lakes, waterparks or pools. And, because drowning incidents increase by 89 percent during the summer months, and sunburns and heat exhaustion can occur rapidly, Raging Rivers WaterPark in Grafton, Ill., is offering sun and water safety tips to keep top of mind this holiday weekend and for the remainder of the summer. In its 22nd season, Raging Rivers, which has been designated as a "Water Aware" park by the World Waterpark Association (WWA), remains committed to making safety a top priority and encourages residents to follow these guidelines:

  •  Pools can be crowded, and accidents can happen in an instant. Never drop your guard around even the best swimmers and don't solely rely on a lifeguard or floating devices to ensure your child's safety. Note that accidents can happen even in the shallowest of waters, and it can only take two minutes for a child to drown. Remember that inner tubes, water wings and Styrofoam noodles are toys and offer no protection from drowning, and young children should wear life jackets that are Coast Guard-approved. To be fully prepared, take a CPR training class, learn water-rescue skills and always have a phone nearby.
  • The sun is most harmful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Use extra caution during these times.
  •  Always wear sunscreen, even on cool and cloudy days. Sunscreen should be at least SPF 15, protect from UVB and UVA rays and should be applied generously 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Don't forget the areas that tend to go unprotected like the tops of feet and the ears, nose and lips, and remember to reapply every two hours and after swimming/sweating. It's also smart to utilize other forms of sun protection, including a shirt, cap, sunglasses or umbrella and to monitor the amount of time spent in the sun.
  • Beware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion - nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue and confusion. If you suspect you or someone else may be suffering from heat exhaustion, lie down in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Don't forget that your little ones' eyes need protection as well. According to the American Optometric Association, it's best that adults and kids wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

"Raging Rivers is committed to offering our guests a safe and worry-free environment, and we hope area residents will use these tips to make safety a number one priority, whether they are visiting our park or enjoying another favorite summertime hotspot," said Larry Smith, president and general manager of Raging Rivers WaterPark. "We employ more than 100 American Red Cross-certified lifeguards and ensure that all other employees are well-versed on safety issues. Guests are offered free access to life jackets during their visits. We even have a Director of Emergency Services and EMT Team on-site at all times and safety measures and communication devices in place throughout the park."

For more information regarding staying safe in or around the water, or for more information on the park's operation hours, attractions, specials, directions and more, call Raging Rivers at (618) 786-2345 or log on to www.ragingrivers.com. The water park is located at 100 Palisades Parkway off the Great River Road in Grafton, Ill., which is only 45 minutes away from the Gateway Arch.

Raging Rivers first opened its gates in the summer of 1990 and made its mark as the first water park in the Greater St. Louis area. It has since evolved into a 28-acre, multi-million dollar attraction that has catered to millions of visitors over the years.

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