According to a study from Direct Line, trampolines are now the main reason for children under the age of 14 sustaining serious injuries and the study also revealed that more and more such cases are resulting in litigation.
Trampoline parks typically exist in a former warehouse in an industrial estate with wall to wall trampolines. They first became popular in the US and are fast becoming a phenomenon in the UK with the number of trampoline parks in the UK rising to 144 since the first one opened in May 2014.
The BBC have obtained figures which show that in the year to April 2016, 315 ambulances were called to 30 trampoline parks. Whilst operators insist that the number of injuries sustained are low in comparison to the number of users of their trampolines, the type of injury sustained is often serious. Injuries range from soft tissue injuries to fractured limbs, head injuries and fractured vertebrae.
There is currently no regulatory body which sets definitive rules for safety in trampoline parks. Some parks are active in setting their own rules for safety, for example making grip socks compulsory footwear, limiting the number of people allowed on the trampoline at any one time and having sessions with set times for children in specific age ranges.
Something which many trampoline parks have in common is a waiver form which must be filled out for each participant. Visitors to the park and the parents of younger participants are being asked by some companies to sign disclaimer documents which seek to exclude any responsibility for injuries. Such contracts have no legal validity. These establishments cannot automatically absolve themselves of all responsibility if someone gets hurt.
The legal duty that companies face is simple: they owe people a duty of care to keep them reasonably safe. Of course you will assume some degree of risk if you participate in this kind of activity but the owners of the parks must make sure you are properly instructed in the use of the equipment, adequately supervised and that the equipment is safe to use.
The International Association of Trampoline Parks UK are keen to ensure that all venues are safety compliant and they ask that all potential customers look for evidence of safety briefings from staff, a well maintained and well lit park and sufficient staff members on duty when choosing a park to visit.
In addition to trampoline parks there are of course the trampolines which many families have in their gardens. Parents are facing compensation claims and many do not realise that they could face legal action if another child is injured on their trampoline.