Most birthday parties or fun afternoons with family and friends don’t involve children suffering catastrophic injuries after being thrown violently and unexpectedly into hard surfaces. Unfortunately, the increased popularity of trampoline parks is leading to a jump in serious and sometimes catastrophic injuries among kids and adults alike. Before you consider a trip to one of the more than 800 such facilities across the country, you need to be aware of the considerable risks involved.
18,000 ER Visits Each Year
If you want to see how many more people are going to trampoline parks every year, look at how many people are going to emergency rooms afterward. In 2010, only 581 emergency room visits nationwide were related to trampoline park incidents, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians. By 2014, that number had risen to 6,932, and in 2017, almost 18,000 people went to the ER because of an injury they sustained at a trampoline park, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Additionally and tragically, at least six people died from trampoline park injuries in the past seven years, reports CBS News.
What Makes Trampoline Parks So Dangerous?
Combine the boundless energy of kids, the force and size of adults, the laws of physics, and flawed or inadequate facility design and you have a recipe for disaster.
In most parks, multiple trampolines are connected to each other with chain links or steel cables under thin or minimal padding. The walls around the trampolines usually have thin padding as well. As people run, jump, and flip on and between trampolines, that activity generates powerful waves of energy in all directions. While one person on one trampoline may have a great degree of control over their movement, trampoline park patrons are at the mercy of all of the other people doing their own thing.
One of the most common ways all of that activity manifests itself and leads to injury is “double bouncing.” This occurs when one jumper’s impact affects the rebound of another person. In turn, this can lead to violent collisions. Adding to the danger is the fact that small children may be on the trampolines alongside much bigger adults. Grown-ups not only create more movement on the surface of the trampolines, but they can also fall down on children, leading to crushing injuries.
In many parks, foam pits surround the trampolines. Kids who jump from the trampolines into the pits can suffer bone fractures or worse when they land in these inadequately cushioned areas.
As noted, trampolines are bordered by large, taut steel cables. The gaps between the cables can be large enough for someone to either fall through or trap a limb.
A Wide Range of Catastrophic Trampoline Park Injuries
Doctors across the country report treating a wide range of catastrophic injuries from trampoline park visits, including:
• Traumatic brain injuries
• Brain bleeds
• Fractured skulls
• Broken necks, leading to paralysis or death
• Broken noses
• Broken jaws
• Arm and leg breaks and fractures
For all of these reasons, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says that children under six should not use trampolines, while The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against trampolines use by all children.
What If I Signed a Waiver?
Almost every trampoline park will require that guests (or their parents) sign a waiver purporting to shield the park owners from liability in the event of an accident or injury. It can be easy to think that signing such a waiver or release means that you have given up any claim for compensation against the park. But waivers are not always effective or enforceable.
Waivers can’t excuse owners from willful, wanton, or intentional conduct, and if the document is unclear or the guest was not given an opportunity to read or understand it, the waiver may not be effective in insulating the park from liability. That is why you should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand your rights and your options.
Lamothe Law Firm: New Orleans Catastrophic Injury Lawyers
If you or your child was injured at a trampoline park in New Orleans or elsewhere in Louisiana, please call Lamothe Law Firm today at 504-321-7747 to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney about your situation.