South Florida trampoline park injuries among children have seen a stunning rise, with an NBC6 investigation reporting nearly 300 falls and injuries at trampoline parks resulting in 911 calls, about 70 of those requiring paramedics. Among those calls were a 4-year-old boy with a sprained ankle and a 6-year-old girl left bleeding after a larger child jumped on top of her and a boy who suffered a head injury. At one business alone, there were 60 calls to 911 in two years.
Larger studies suggest the problem is widespread and growing. For instance, a study published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that between 2010 and 2014, there were approximately 92,000 emergency department visits made during the study period. That alone is troubling, but particularly when you consider that trampoline park injuries spiked 10-fold during the study period. Five-to-six new trampoline parks open across the country every single month, with an estimated 450 open as of the end of last year. That’s compared to the 35 to 40 that were in existence in 2011 and 280 in 2014.
Sprains and fractures were among the most common trampoline injuries, with dislocated joints twice as commonly occurring at trampoline parks as at residential trampolines. Also more common at the businesses were fractures more likely to occur in younger children – accounting for roughly 50 percent of injuries among children younger than 6.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons issued an advisory indicating children under 6 should never jump on trampolines. The American Academy of Pediatrics took an even harder line, saying it strongly discourages recreational trampoline use at all ages.
Higher child injury estimates have been reported in recent years, with the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System showing trampoline injuries result in 100,000 emergency room visits annually. The Consumer Product Safety Commission puts it closer to 286,000 in a single year. Although most child safety advocates advise against using trampolines at all, recommended safety measures for those who do include:
- Constant adult supervision;
- Protective padding;
- One jumper per trampoline;
- Avoidance of flips and somersaults.
For those who may be unfamiliar, these trampoline parks usually consist of wall-to-wall connected trampolines with padded walls or angled trampoline walls.
Orlando injury attorneys know claims or litigation involving trampoline park injuries may be challenging because participants (or guardians of participants) sign release of liability forms that may result in an uphill battle for damages. That doesn’t mean they are impossible to overcome. Signing a waiver does not totally destroy the legitimacy of a claim if you can demonstrate that the waiver failed to meet the state’s requirements for enforcement. Most claims indicate plaintiff has surrendered any negligence-based claims against defendant. If the injury resulted from gross negligence, recklessness or intentional conduct, liability waivers can’t cover that.
Further, Florida law has an express exception when it comes to waivers for minor children. As noted in the 2007 decision by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal in Krathen v. School Bd. of Monroe County, pre-injury liability waivers can be signed by parents and are generally enforceable against children, but usually only in a non-commercial context (i.e., community events, schools, etc.). If the waiver is applied to a commercial context (i.e., for-profit recreational activity), the waiver may not be enforceable. That’s why trampoline injury lawsuits involving children may still prevail.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Trampoline Parks Linked to Hundreds of Injuries in South Florida, July 17, 2018, By Connie Fossi and Dan Krauth, NBC6
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