Trampoline accidents – are trampoline parks safe?
Trampoline parks are a growing trend in the UK, with new sites opening at a rapid rate since the first one opened in 2014. They were first popularised in the US, but have become a favourite destination for young children in the UK – and with the summer holidays fast approaching this year promises to be a bumper year for trampoline parks in the UK.
Despite their popularity though, trampoline parks pose a significant risk. According to a recent study by Direct Line trampolines are now the number one cause of injury to children under the age of 14 – with more and more cases resulting in litigation.
As well as that study, the BBC have produced their own figures showing that in the year up to April 2016 a total of 315 ambulances were called to 30 different trampoline parks in the UK. While the numbers of injuries sustained may be low in terms of the total number of users of trampoline parks, the resulting injury is often a very serious one which can range from soft tissue injuries to broken limbs, fractured vertebrae and serious head injuries.
Trampoline park safety rules
Currently there is no regulatory body to oversee trampoline parks and to provide a definitive, industry-wide, set of safety rules and regulations. Some of the more proactive parks have set up their own safety rules e.g. making sure all users wear grip-socks and limiting the number of people on the trampoline surface at any one time.
Many trampoline parks also have a waiver form which they insist must be filled out for each user of the park, which act as a disclaimer to help the company avoid any legal responsibility for any injuries that may be incurred. However, such documents or contracts have no legal validity and cannot be used to simply absolve the company of any negligence if an accident happens on their trampolines.
Owners of trampoline parks have a duty of care to keep their customers safe to a reasonable level. Naturally all users of a trampoline park accept some form of risk when taking part but the owners must take reasonable steps to ensure a safe environment e.g. all equipment must be in a good state, be safe to use and be well maintained.
The International Association of Trampoline Parks are keen to ensure that all venues are safety compliant and they ask that all potential customers look for evidence of safety briefings from staff, a well maintained and well lit park and sufficient staff members on duty when choosing a park to visit.
In addition to trampoline parks there are of course the trampolines which many families have in their gardens. Parents are facing compensation claims and many do not realise that they could face legal action if another child is injured on their trampoline.