After two children nearly drowned in 2011, the county has announced new rules and safety measures for its water parks that will protect guests and swimmers.
Greenville County Recreation held a press conference Wednesday to share new plans in place when the water parks open on May 19.
The measures will affect the county's three water parks and Westside Aquatic Complex after last year's incidents prompted the need for additional safety measures.
Last July, a 3-year-old boy was pulled from the pool at Otter Creek Waterpark and saved by lifeguards with CPR after a man said the boy had been underwater for eight to 10 minutes before he was rescued.
In August, deputies were called to Otter Creek after a 2-year-old girl was found unconscious, but she was revived with CPR before paramedics arrived.
County recreation officials said the new measures include requiring life jackets on all guests under 42 inches tall, and children must be with adults at all times.
They said the district has purchased 1,500 additional life jackets for the new measure, though they had some available before, but they were not required to be worn. The jacket height requirement was set at 6 inches about the deepest point, which is 3 feet.
County officials said they looked at water parks across the country when creating the new rules.
Additional new rules announced were adopting the Department of Social Services children-to-counselor ratio for camps that come to the parks, a no long breath-holding policy, and posting signs at the pools.
If water park and pool rules are not followed, officials said guests will be asked to leave.
Recreation officials said the Department of Health and Environmental Control sets capacity at the parks. Additionally, the county employs 200 lifeguards throughout all three parks, with 16 to 18 working at Otter Creek.
While not linked to increased safety measures, county officials tickets rates will increase at the water parks this year due to the cost of business.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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