If you have children, you are likely familiar with Trampoline Parks– places like Sky Zone, Fly High, and Big Air. The parks are located in large buildings, which are filled with wall-to-wall trampolines. The trampolines are usually grouped depending on the type of activity allowed in that area. For example, there might be 3 adjacent, narrow trampolines with basketball hoops at the end. Or, a section of larger trampolines set up for a dodge ball court. Many of the parks have trampolines located next to huge foam pits, where patrons can jump off of the trampolines, and into foam blocks. Sounds like fun, right? However, jumpers beware!
Trampoline Park Injuries on the Rise
In the past decade the number of trampoline parks has really JUMPED! As you might expect, so too have trampoline-related injuries. In a study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of trampoline park injuries increased from 581 in 2010 to 6,932 in 2014. The average age of the injured person was 13 years old.
Most injuries happen in one of two ways. First, patrons may be injured by making contact with park equipment, such as when the patron fails to properly land on the padding that covers the springs, or lands on the trampoline frame. In such a case of patron versus equipment, the park may be responsible for failure to provide proper training and oversight, or for failure to enforce safety rules. In addition, park workers should regularly inspect the trampolines for exposed or broken springs. Daily inspections, including weekly inspections beneath the trampolines, will help to ensure that the equipment is in good order. The following of manufacturer’s guidelines regarding inspections is critical.
Alternatively, patrons may be injured by coming into contact with another patron. Park attendants must keep a watchful eye, and make sure that safety rules are being followed. If a patron is disregarding the rules, by jumping erratically, jumping too close to another patron, or otherwise, the attendant must intervene. Ensuring that adults and larger kids are not jumping near small children is extremely important. Smaller kids may be affected by “double bounce,” which is when the force from a larger person’s bounce affects the smaller person’s rebound.
Trampoline Parks and Liability
If you’ve ever read the trampoline park’s waivers, be warned. The releases are a sobering read, normally describe trampolining as an “inherently and obviously dangerous” activity, and warn that very serious injuries may occur. The waivers are normally found to be enforceable, as they are drafted by the parks, and contain clauses which minimize the parks’ responsibility.
Exercise extreme caution at the park. Be on the lookout for damaged or broken equipment. Be aware of others when jumping. In the case of an injury, recovery will be made more difficult by the execution of a release.
Scott Bonebrake is a personal injury attorney in Media, PA, and has been a licensed attorney for 24 years. Please feel free to contact Scott if you have any legal questions, including those regarding trampoline park injuries. You can reach Scott at 610-892-7700, or at firstname.lastname@example.org