Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Trampolining is fun but don't get bounced into Court

Trampolines are great fun for children,  but accidents involving trampolines are common and if you invite friends and family around you need to consider their safety and whether you could be liable for any injury  that occurs to them in the course of trampolining on your trampoline.

Research published in the journal Injury Prevention in 2006 found that trampoline-related broken bones accounted for over one in 10 childhood fractures. This supports research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which found that 11,500 people in the UK went to hospital after a trampoline-related accident in 2002 – an increase of over 50% over a five-year period.

About 75% of injuries occur when more than one person is on the trampoline, with the person who weighs less being five times more likely to be injured.   Trampolines are not designed for the safe use of toddlers and babies and however there are trampolines that are specially designed for their age range and they should only be allowed on such a trampoline and should always be supervised. Don't forget head injuries can result in a child being permanently mentally impaired and a broken leg etc can lead to an amputation as can be seen in the unfortunate case of Michelle Hatfield

The overriding approach is set out in the case of Perry & Perry v Harris (a minor) [2008] EWCA Civ 907 referred to in our previous blog. 

Each case will need to be considered individually and what will be considers is

1.  was the injury reasonably foreseeable to the reasonable man and
2.  what precautions should the reasonable parent take to guard against them.

This approach is summarised in the final paragraph of Lord Phillips’s judgment, as follows:

‘ a large extent a case of this nature properly turns on first impressions. The factual scenario is a simple one and the photographs give a very clear picture of the bouncy castle. ... The issue is whether a reasonably careful parent could have acted in the same way as the defendant. The case does not turn on expert evidence or special knowledge. Essentially we have had to place ourselves in the shoes of the defendant and consider the adequacy of her conduct from that viewpoint and with the knowledge that she had. Each of us had the same reaction to the facts. The defendant could not be held at fault for the way that she acted. The manner in which she was supervising activities on the bouncy castle ... accorded with the demands of reasonable care for the children using [it]. The accident was a freak and tragic accident. It occurred without fault.’

So what should you do to ensure that

1.  An Accident does not occur in the course of your own or your child's friends etc using your trampoline.
2.  Or alternatively ensuring that your are not liable in the very unfortunate situation that your child or your child's friend's etc are injured.

  • Don't  allow more than one person on the trampoline at the same time.
  • Children under 6 should use trampolines designed for their age range and size, trampolines and don't forget trampolines are not suitable for very young children and toddlers.
  • Always supervise children, don't presume that because older children are around that supervision is not required this is one area that could result in your being found to be liable for injuries sustained by a child using your trampoline.
  • Do not allow children to do somersaults - there are clubs with qualified people to assist children to undertake somersaults in a relatively safe enviroment

  • For further information on the recommended safety practices when allowing your own or other people's children to use your trampoline please go to:-

    This article is provided for information purposes only

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