By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Trampolines are common in most every community. Many commercial play areas also have trampolines for use by children. While trampolines can provide great fun and a form of exercise for children, trampolines are also well known hazards and risks to children as well. This is especially true for young children who play on trampolines. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that there were approximately 100,000 trampoline related personal injuries reported in 2009. The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken the position that recreational trampoline use by children is just plain dangerous. Many parents do not recognize the dangers of trampoline use until there is a serious personal injury that grabs the attention of the parents.
While there are safety measures available that supposedly make the trampoline safer for children to use, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that the safety notes have not made much of a difference in preventing or reducing the number of trampoline related personal injuries. In fact, it is believed that the use or presence of safety nets provides parents with a false sense of security as to the use of a trampoline by a child.
Statistics show that there are a number of personal injuries sustained by children as a result of trampoline use including but not limited to concussions, traumatic brain injuries, strains, sprains, fractures, neurological injuries, and other personal injuries. Younger children (those under the age of 6 years old) are risk for injuries from trampoline use. It was reported that children under the age of 6 accounted for up to 37 % of the emergency room visits due to trampoline related injuries. You can read more about the risks and dangers of trampolines at Doctors Advise Against the Use of Trampolines by Children.
The best advice that I can provide to parents to prohibit the use of trampolines by children. While this may be seen as a drastic or unfair prohibition, it is also a wise one according to many safety advocates. If a child is permitted to use a trampoline, close supervision is recommended along with a general rule that only one child be on the trampoline at a time.
Unfortunately, children suffer serious injuries as a result of trampoline use. When a child suffers a personal injury, there may be a claim or case to pursue on behalf of the injured child if it can be shown that there was a lack of permission and / or negligence involved with the incident. Due to the dangers and risks of trampolines, permission should be obtained from the child’s parent prior to trampoline play or use. If permission is allowed, there still needs to be consistent supervision by a responsible adult when a trampoline is being used by a child.
A legal action for a trampoline related personal injury has four basic elements:
1. Duty. The community center, school, day care center, homeowner, or other property owner has a duty to maintain the trampoline in good repair. Furthermore, the owner of the trampoline should obtain consent of a parent for each child using the trampoline. Supervision should be provided so that there is only one child on the trampoline at a time. Other duties may be applicable depending the State, ownership (residential or commercial), and other factors.
2. Breach of Duty. The breach of any of the above duties would provide a basis for the second element of a negligence case involving a trampoline related injury.
3. Causation. Causation refers to the link between the breach of duty and the damages (injuries). In other words, the breach of duty was the reason that the child was injured. If better safety precautions were put in place and / or followed, then the incident could have been avoided.
4. Damages. The element of damages refers to the injuries and medical bills related to the trampoline related personal injuries.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.