How Safe Are Trampoline Parks?
The Law Of… Bouncing Safely
Trampoline parks have surged in popularity since the first park was opened in 2014, but what are the safety regulations put in place to protect visitors and are they enough?
Personal Injury solicitor, Anna Thompson, investigates a recent incident that resulted in one visitor breaking her back at a park in Chester.
'Left In Agony'
Lucy Jones attended Flip Out Chester on 29th January 2017 with a group of friends. The 19 year old jumped from a four metre platform into a foam pit below her, only to find herself in searing pain. She called to staff to tell them that she couldn't move, but ignoring her pleas, the staff dragged her from the foam pit and refused to call an ambulance.
Fortunately, one of Lucy's friends called for an ambulance and an x-ray revealed she had a fractured vertebra in her spine. A five hour operation the next day saw Lucy fitted with rods in her spine to help with her recovery.
Flip Out Chester has since replaced the Tower Jump that Lucy injured herself on with a new battle beam attraction. A Flip Out spokesperson said, "Safety is our number one priority and we strive to ensure that everyone who visits can enjoy all of the activities in a safe environment."
A Huge Rise In Incidences
Lucy Jones is now proceeding with legal action against the popular trampoline park company Flip Out. Cheshire West and Chester Council has also launched an investigation into the safety at the park.
Unfortunately, the incident in January 2017 is by far an isolated incident. In February 2017, Liza Jones also shattered her spine on the same Tower Jump at the park in Chester. Upon landing in the pit, Liza felt pain in her back and was rushed to hospital.
A recent report on ambulance calls to trampoline parks suggests that safety at trampoline parks is precarious. There is reported to have been more than 700 calls for ambulances from trampoline parks in 2016 in comparison to the previous year that saw 489 calls to emergency services. That is a 55% increase, demonstrating not only the growing popularity of trampoline parks, but also an increasing risk to health that these leisure facilities might be posing.
What Are The Safety Standards Required Of Trampoline Parks?
The International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP) explained that the rise in emergency call outs is due to the rapid rise in park openings. Peter Brown, a member of the UK branch of the IATP said, "The sector in general has matured in 2016 and 2017, with operators getting better at managing the risk of injuries in parks."
Parks should adhere to the codes of standards laid out by the IATP as well as abide by the regulations detailed in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Despite the regulations put in place, accidents like the ones Lucy and Liza suffered continue to occur. Whilst many parks will issue a waiver to visitors stating they understand the risks involved and agree to adhere to the trampoline park rules, this does not negate responsibility of staff to take care of visitors, particularly if the worst should happen and an accident occurs.
Claiming For A Trampoline Park Accident
There have been many instances where visitors have been injured and have claimed compensation against trampoline park companies for negligence. As with all companies, if an injury has been sustained because of the negligence of another, there is the possibility of claiming for damages.
Trampoline Parks must demonstrate they have taken reasonable precaution to protect visitors from harm. In the case of Lucy Jones, the rough removal of her from the pit she had jumped into may have exacerbated her condition and their refusal to call an ambulance meant her access to treatment took 90 minutes.
"The incident at Flip Out is just one of so many incidences of staff not reacting properly to what could be a serious injury. There must be an improvement in first aid understanding and knowledge of signs of spinal injury in particular."
"With most sports of this nature, there is always going to be a level of risk. But it's the swift action of staff that could make a huge difference to the outcome of accidents."
"I urge anyone who has suffered an injury at a trampoline park, where the negligence either caused or exacerbated an injury, to get in touch with our personal injury team."
If you have suffered an injury because of the negligence of another, call our personal injury team free today for an initial consultation.