Ocular injuries caused by solid projectiles have been described in the literature (Duma, 2005; Kennedy, 2006; Kennedy, 2007). However, the impact of a high-velocity water stream on the globe has not been previously quantified. Such pressurized water jets can be found in children’s water toys, squirt guns, and interactive water fountains. As the velocity of these water streams increases, product capabilities, and therefore popularity, likewise increase. In addition to those on the market, water gun enthusiasts custom build powerful guns in order to maximize flow rate, often in excess of 55 ft/s. Interactive water fountains (also called wet decks, splash pads, spray pads, or spray parks) are found in public areas and water parks throughout the country. The attractions feature synchronized jets of water, typically directed vertically from nozzles in the ground. While playing, it is possible for a child to look into the nozzle in anticipation of the next spurt of water which could in theory cause an eye injury. However, the increasing popularity of these fountains has not been matched by appropriate regulation. The CDC recommends that health departments update pool codes to include interactive water features that do not have standing water (Prevention, 2007) due to a series of outbreaks of gastroenteritis (Minshew, 2000). The lack of research and injury assessment has delayed the process, as most states have not established codes. Current available legislation is listed in Table 1. The primary focus of concern in current legislation is centered on the filtration system and prevention of spread of bacterial infection. This concern has taken attention away from the potential for mechanical injury due to a high-velocity water jet directed toward a child’s eyes, ear, or mouth.
Table 1: Current water regulations.
Analysis of Eye Injury Risk from Water Stream Impact ©Copyright Crystal Fountains
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