Crash Crawly's duct-taped equipment caused girl's fall, moms allege
Company says equipment is 'completely safe' and threatens legal action over Facebook post
A Burnaby, B.C. mom is fuming after her 11-year-old daughter fell and got her leg stuck in some equipment that was duct-taped together at Crash Crawly's Adventure Fun Centre, an indoor play gym in Coquitlam, yesterday.
Helisa Duplassie says she and friend Tara Jensen took 12 kids to Crash Crawly's for a party on the first rainy Monday of spring break.
Her daughter, Amelia Decoste, told CBC News she was jumping onto a platform grid made of fabric webbing — covered in duct tape — when the webbing shifted, and her foot fell through a hole, up to her hip.
"We didn't realize there was anything wrong until Amelia came down crying that had she got her leg stuck in this makeshift kind of repair," said Jensen.
The mothers, who run a parenting blog, posted the story on their B.C. Mom Facebook page, and now the company — who says the equipment is "completely safe" — is threatening legal action over what it calls defamatory comments.
Decoste was not seriously injured in her fall; she said her hip was "pretty sore" from the strain, though the 11-year-old still jumped on a trampoline later at the party.
Still, her mom and Jensen are concerned the play gym's equipment was repaired with duct tape, and management hadn't warned parents or roped off that area.
"This was the start of spring break. There were at least 100 kids in there and not one parent was warned that it was there," said Jensen.
Duplassie said the manager "waved us off," and told them someone was coming to fix the equipment later in the day. Her daughter was given two tokens for a train ride, worth $4, she said.
"Duct tape is not a fix all," said Jensen. "It may work at home but when we're putting our kids safety in someone else's hands, and paying for that service, we really expect that safety is going to be number one.
Admission to Crash Crawly's costs $7.99 for children under 2, and $11.99 for children over 2.
The company declined CBC News' request for an interview, but in an emailed statement, the company said a "manufacturer repair specialist" has looked at the equipment.
"It is completely safe, as we already knew. This situation is being blown completely out of proportion including defamatory statements made on a Facebook page," the statement reads.
"We will be taking legal action at this point for defamatory comments. This is a sad experience with social media, based on defamatory statements that are not true."
CBC was unable to confirm whether the duct tape pictured in Duplassie's photo remains on the webbing.
Who regulates this?
As of Tuesday afternoon, the moms' Facebook post had been shared close to 200 times, and drawn about 100 comments and replies with many expressing concern over what happened.
Even Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart was drawn into the conversation, with someone asking him online, "can anything be done about this? Any regulations?"
He encouraged any parent whose child was injured on the equipment to contact him, but none had as of Tuesday afternoon.
The B.C. Safety Authority also told CBC News it does not regulate Crash Crawly's indoor play gym, though it does handle the train on site. Health Canada and Consumer Protection B.C. also do not oversee the gym, they told CBC News.
Both Duplaissie and Jensen would like to see Crash Crawly's make safety improvements.
"We live in 'Raincouver.' We need indoor places for our kids to play that are safe, so we would love to give them another chance if the safety concerns are addressed and quickly," said Jensen.
With files from Brenna Rose