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Kentucky lawmakers seek splash pad safety regulations

Senate Bill 159 would allow the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to create specific health rules for splash parks.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — You probably take your kids to one of those popular public splash pads or know someone who does. Kentucky lawmakers are tackling a plan that would allow for safety regulations.

Lawmakers say safety regulations are a bit unusual for these often-crowded public parks. Senate Bill 159 would allow the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to create specific health rules for splash parks. Currently the regulations are the same as swimming pools in that they must have a shepherd's crook, ring buoy, life pole, backboard and telephone.

Those items would not be required under SB 159 because most agree that they're not of much use at splash pads. But this plan would require that water being recirculated be chemically treated and filtered. It would also allow the cabinet to create other rules specifically for splash pads.

“We want to make sure, put into legislation, that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services go ahead and have regulations and one of those being requiring that the water, if recirculation, be chemically treated and properly filtered,” said bill sponsor, Senator Wil Schroder.

There are more than 100 splash pads in Kentucky. The Kentucky League of Cities suggests that splash pads cost less to operate and there's less liability than a pool. That’s why many cities are building them instead of pools. The League of Cities knows of several communities installing new spray parks now.

“Our local leaders are concerned about quality of life for their residents and this is something that they can do for the children in their community and for the families that brings joy when the sun is out but also is less of a liability than a full pool,” said Bryanna Carroll, Director of Governmental Affairs at the Kentucky League of Cities.

Late Monday, the Senate unanimously passed the plan and sent it to the House where they hope it will also clear easily before splashing down on Governor Beshear's desk.

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