It would be difficult to find a parent who hasn’t uttered something to the effect of, “I was right there. How could this have happened?” But while it’s impossible to predict the countless ways children endanger themselves, a park featuring trampolines as its main attraction is a relatively known risk.
As the trampoline park trend continues to proliferate, parents are increasingly being asked to assess those risks. Your choices can make the difference between safety and a potential lawsuit.
Lawsuits jump up against trampoline parks
This past July, Kaitlin Hill shared a heartbreaking photo on social media of her 3-year-old son in a body cast from the waist down. He broke his femur while jumping at a trampoline park. In Kansas City, a teen broke his tibia in a trampoline accident at a trampoline park. He spent two months on bed rest and is now in physical therapy.
And near Shreveport, Louisiana, a family is suing Altitude Trampoline Park for negligence because her daughter suffered a cut to the head and concussion while flipping from a trampoline into an adjacent foam pit.
Altitude’s management alleges the teen was flouting the rules and that their park is as safe as possible. But the fact remains that trampoline parks accounted for an estimated 100,000 emergency room visits in 2014, and from 2000 to 2009 there were at least 22 reported deaths from trampoline mishaps.
Trampoline park safety is questionable
Trampoline park guests sign waivers, acknowledging the obvious risks in the activity in which they and their children are about to partake. Signing away your rights to sue if your kid gets injured, however, obviously puts you in a weak position in case of mishaps.
Doctors certainly disapprove. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that kids younger than 6 years not use trampolines.
The American Academy of Pediatrics takes it one step further, warning that trampolines should only be used in supervised athletic training programs. That means gymnastics, not overcrowded trampoline parks with flying bodies everywhere.
Even though a spokesperson for the International Association of Trampoline Parks says trampoline parks must abide by industry standards, it isn’t always easy to discourage daredevils. Serious and permanent injuries are always possible, even under adult supervision.
Kids inevitably engage in activities that might result in harm, and trying to insulate them from all possible hazards is a futile task. Still, it’s worth doing your research and making sure this particular activity is worth the danger.