Bouncing Your Way into the ER?
A fast-growing craze among young people is foam pits and trampoline parks. On the surface, it sounds like wholesome fun that will help kids get some needed exercise, and the kids seem to love it. But stories of injuries and deaths, and warnings from doctors, have started to emerge.
What Are Foam Pits and Trampoline Parks
A foam pit is exactly what it sounds like—piles of foam cubes, usually supported by a trampoline, which people, mostly kids and teens, jump in. A trampoline park is a large room filled with trampolines. Often, the same recreational facility has both. They are popular with those who want to try out acrobatic or gymnastic moves.
Warnings from the World of Medicine
Doctors are some of the folks leading the crusade against these jump gyms, believing that greater enforcement of local laws is needed at trampoline parks and foam pits. Some claim that signing waivers, watching safety videos, and the use of safety nets and protective padding are not enough to protect our young people, as the injuries can be quite serious. “This is like a war type of injury or a motor vehicle crash,” said Dr. Craig Cook, trauma director at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a statement that strongly discourages the use of trampolines, either at home or at trampoline parks, calling the nature of many injuries severe. Indeed, there are four kinds of injuries that appear to be unique to trampolines, and at least one of them causes significant neurological damage.
Injuries and Deaths
Children younger than six account for a significant number of injuries, and often have more broken bones. While 29 percent of injuries for those aged 6 to 17 were fractures or dislocations, in children 5 or younger, bony injuries accounted for 48 percent of all injuries. Children under the age of six should not use a trampoline or play in a foam pit.
Older teens and young adults, perhaps because they have faith in their own athleticism, sometimes end up being paralyzed, or even die. In February, 2015, in Union City, GA, a football coach jumped into a foam pit and broke two vertebrae, ending up paralyzed. In 2012, a 30 year old man doing a backflip into a foam pit in an Arizona trampoline park died from his injuries. And a 17-year-old suffered spinal cord injuries, ending up partially paralyzed, because he hit his head on an insufficiently padded trampoline’s edge.
Reasons Things Go Wrong
A number of factors can contribute to injuries in foam pits and on trampolines:
- Multiple persons on the same trampoline, especially when one is much bigger than the other. Jump gyms are supposed to enforce the rule of one person to a trampoline.
- Insufficient padding on hard or sharp edges.
- Insufficient amounts of foam in foam pits.
- A lack of adequate adult supervision.
- Unrepaired damage to the elements of a trampoline or foam pit.
- Inadequate safety training of staff, or inadequate safety precautions on the part of the trampoline park’s owners.
What You Can Do
You should be aware that trampoline parks and foam pits are unregulated in most states, though both Utah and California have been considering legislation. If you choose to take your children or allow your older teens to go:
- Do not let your children perform gymnastic moves, such as somersaults or flips.
- If your children are under the age of six, do not let them use the facilities.
Was one of your children injured in a foam pit or trampoline park? If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us for immediate help. At McNeely Stephenson, when others breach their duty, we keep ours.