Trampoline parks have exploded in popularity, raising some concerns about safety. (Photo courtesy Flying Squirrel)

Operator of national trampoline park chain reacts to Richmond tragedy

Parks have numerous safety standards, but users must sign an injury waiver

A horrific tragedy at a Richmond trampoline park has led some to characterize the entire industry as inherently unsafe, an assumption operators of Greater Victoria’s only such park call misinformed.

A 46-year-old Victoria father, Jay Greenwood, died Jan. 20 after he fell at Extreme Air Park while performing what police described as “a series of acrobatic manoeuvres.”

“Our hearts go out to the families that have been affected by this tragedy, ” said Luke Schueler, COO of Flying Squirrel, which has numerous trampoline parks, including one in Esquimalt. “Patron safety is our top priority. Any and every injury is a serious matter, and we have mandatory policies and procedures set for all team members to ensure all optimal steps must be followed to mitigate the risk of injury.”

But Schueler acknowledged that, as with any physical recreational activity, there is potential for injury.

The Canadian Pediatric Society issued a a blanket condemnation of trampolines in 2013. They encouraged parents to avoid them for home use by children or teens and say trampolines should not be considered play equipment. As for trampoline parks, the society indicates they “carry serious risk of injury to children.”

Schueler maintains that the Flying Squirrel trampoline parks have taken steps to mitigate that risk as much as possible.

“To educate our customers we have warning signs and guidelines for the safe use of the trampolines. We also have safety videos playing throughout the check-in area and employ court monitors to strictly enforce the rules and monitor patron activity,” he said. Staff quickly eject any patrons who engage in unsafe practices, he added.

Where trouble sometimes occurs is when multiple jumpers are on the same trampoline.

“It’s that double bounce that can really get people hurt,”said Cassie Poirier, manager of Victoria Gymnastics Club.

“We have trampolines in our facility, but only one child is ever allowed on at any time and there is always a certified instructor within arm’s reach. If you have more than one person on the trampoline, especially of different weights, the smaller person can be launched with no control of their movements and injuries are going to happen,” she explained.

While Schueler recognizes the danger of the double bounce effect, he is quick to point out the most dangerous aspect of the occurrence happens when a small child is on the trampoline with a much larger child or adult.

“We have designed our parks so that we have a kiddie section for younger children so they are separated from older youth and adults. And our court monitors make a point of steering smaller children to that area. Some other parks don’t do that, and it can result in a dangerous situation,” he said.

“We also stop people from attempting tricks that are clearly beyond their skill level.”

Flying Squirrel ensures that staff with CPR and defibrillator certification are on site at all times, added Schueler.

The best advice, according to Poirier, is to ensure anyone using a trampoline is properly monitored and that they stay within their skill capabilities. That, she said, applies regardless of whether a person is at the gymnastics club, a trampoline park or using a backyard trampoline.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Wildfire update: Fires burning in Fraser Canyon, Highway 7 and Skagit Valley

Several fires in the region are under ‘modified response’ meaning no firefighters are attending

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Chilliwack is home to Sasquatch, the first Canadian-designed hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, the Sasquatch hop is the country’s first patented hops plant

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Metro Vancouver water reservoirs in ‘good shape’

Reserves sitting at 70-per-cent full, officials said, despite long stretch without major rain

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Most Read