With more crazy lawsuits being brought forward like a mum facing court because her child told another that Santa is not real, let’s hope this is dismissed. However, lawsuits involving trampolines are on the rise. Being sued by a parent of a child on their house is a possibility, one of which is gaining traction due to the seriousness of injuries that can be sustained. Being bounced off a trampoline is generating payouts worth £100,000s.
11,000 Injuries a Year
11,000 children injure themselves on garden trampolines every year, based on RoSPA study based in Oxford where hospital admission were studied over a 15 month period. Accidents are caused by being bounced off, and should be easily prevented. Trampoline safety expert Don McPherson agrees. “The cardinal rule of trampolining is that there should only be one person on a trampoline at a time, including while entering and exiting the trampoline. It’s been that way for 50 years,” The same RoSPA study has shown that 60% of injuries occur when under the supervision of adults, but not a trained spotter who would greatly reduce accidents.
Allowing more than one person on a trampoline including its edges could be construed as negligence in supervision. Making trampoline owners liable. Breaking the following would leave you open to cases should an injury occur.
- Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time.
- Do not attempt or allow somersaults.
- Do not use the trampoline without shock-absorbing pads that completely cover its springs, hooks, and frame.
- Place the trampoline away from structures, trees, and other play areas.
- No child under six years of age should use a full sized trampoline.
- Do not use a ladder with the trampoline because it provides unsupervised access to small children.
- Always supervise children who use a trampoline.
- Prevent falls off of a trampoline with a trampoline enclosure.
Can you spot the safety issues in this photo?
Attractive nuisance, if an item attracts attention. Even a trespassing child getting injured would leave owners liable for injuries. Swimming pool owners suffer the same issue and have (should be) secure access. Homeowners must check their insurance covers them for public liability some policies will force you to upgrade. Don’t think that getting parents to sign waivers protects you, these have been dismissed in almost every case where homeowners have tried them.
Some trampolines come with safety nets, these tend to make parents and supervisors complacent with some kids even throwing themselves against them. Whilst recommended, they aren’t on their own going to protect you from a court date.
Go To A Trampoline Club
The American Academy of Paediatrics states that “It is not advised that children play on trampolines. The only time trampolines should be used is for training programs or certain sports, and then only under the supervision of a trained adult.”
Final Word From Officials
Despite the known health benefits of trampolining (in particular, cardiovascular fitness), The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, have all gone so far as to recommend that trampolines NOT be available for use at homes, schools or playgrounds.
In the UK RosPA don’t want to see trampolining banned. However, advice reads “whatever your ability level, join a local trampolining club to learn new trampolining skills, ranging from the basics of landing safely to advanced moves such as somersaults.”
In other words only trained supervision effective in reducing injuries so unless you’re a trampoline coach think twice about having one in your back garden. Have public liability insurance that specifically covers this activity.