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Trampoline Parks and the Brain Injuries

With the school year coming to an end, parents will soon begin looking for activities to keep their children entertained and out of the house. Trampoline parks offer an afternoon of fun and physical activity in an indoor environment. Unfortunately, this recreation can also result in traumatic brain injuries to the children who enjoy them. According to recent news reports, injuries are common among trampoline users, including possible trauma to the head. Dr. Gary Smith works with the Child Injury Prevention Alliance. He is reported as stating, “Trampolines were designed as training devices, not as toys. The problem we are seeing with trampoline parks is that there is not enough supervision and they’re not being used appropriately. There are unnecessary injuries occurring.”

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, 16 ambulances were dispatched to a Chicago area trampoline park during the first half 2011. One girl reported falling on her neck, subsequently experiencing tingling in her arms and breathing problems. Smith calls the trampoline parks a progression from the backyard trampolines that became common backyard fixtures during the 1990s. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of trampoline injuries nearly tripled during that time, including 11 reported deaths. Many homeowner insurance companies even ban them or explicitly exclude trampoline injuries from coverage.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reportedly falls short of a recommendation against trampolines, instead promoting the importance of adequate supervision during use. However, the interpretation of adequate supervision is an issue of debate among the trampoline companies and parents of injured children.

Regulation and Litigation

Though you may think of a trampoline park in the same realm of an amusement park, there is a significant difference. Trampoline parks are generally unregulated at the state or federal levels. The Chicago Tribune article explains that this is because the recreation equipment does not involve any moving parts. This leaves safety standards to the local governments, where regulations can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next.

Though most trampoline parks require visitors to sign liability disclosures, there are still various pending lawsuits across the country. One pending Colorado lawsuit involves a little girl who was struck in the head by another child, knocking her unconscious. Another lawsuit asserts that the trampoline company was negligent in not supervising children, when a fight broke out on the trampolines and one child received an injury to the head.

Traumatic brain injuries are particularly dangerous in children. Mild traumatic brain injuries are caused by bumps or sudden jolts to the head that impair the brain from working properly. Severe traumatic brain injuries commonly result in death of permanent disability. These types of injuries may result from substantial movement of the brain within the skull or a foreign object penetrating the skull. Traumatic brain injuries among children are particularly concerning because the brain of a child is still developing and long term consequences may result, even from mild injuries.

If you or your child has suffered a trampoline related brain injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti today.

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