British Columbia

Province seeks public input on trampoline park safety amid rising injuries

B.C. is seeking public input on safety standards at indoor trampoline parks in the wake of recent injuries at these facilities.

Parents say regulations can't come soon enough

Indoor trampoline parks have cropped up around the country in recent years, offering customers a chance to bounce, flip and jump in wall-to-wall trampolines. But some doctors say the parks can be hazardous. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

B.C. is seeking public input on safety standards at indoor trampoline parks in the wake of recent injuries at these facilities.

Right now, the indoor play spaces are unregulated. But the province has asked an independent safety group,Technical Safety B.C., to look into whether that should continue to be the case.

The group is hosting an open house Wednesday night at New Westminster's Richard McBride Elementary to discuss the issue.

Parents like Jen Arbo will be among the people expected to be there.

"As a parent, I feel very nervous about indoor trampoline parks," said Arbo, the school's parent advisory committee chair.

She said she was shocked to learn indoor trampoline parks are unregulated, and she plans to share her concerns about equipment maintenance and staff training. 

"Not only how to maintain or teach kids how to use the equipment, but also what to actually do in an emergency," Arbo said.

She stopped taking her 10-year-old son to trampoline parks after a man died at one in Richmond last year.

Arbo said she's also been spooked by multiple reports of trampoline accidents.

4-year old injured

On Sunday, a four- year-old boy suffered a skull fracture after falling from a raised mat at Langley's Extreme Air Park.

In an email to CBC, the company said its facilities are safe if everyone follows the rules. It said the boy should not have been climbing up the wall-like surface.

Dr. Ian Pike, a spokesperson for a group that raises awareness about preventable injuries, said there has been an increase in the number of children admitted to B.C. hospitals with trampoline-related injuries since 2012, which he notes coincides with the opening of trampoline parks.

Like swimming pools, Pike said he thinks the indoor trampoline parks can be made safer, starting with their construction.

"In terms of the types of padding and requirements and break points that can be built in," he said. "And ... the type of operational supervision similar to lifeguarding that would be required to give people an enjoyable but relatively safe experience."

Those who can't make the open house session at Richard McBride Elementary are encouraged to fill out an online survey on Technical Safety BC's website.

The consultation period continues until April 17.

About the Author

Lien Yeung

@LienYeung

Lien Yeung hosts CBC Vancouver News Weekends. As a multimedia reporter, she has covered stories locally and nationally from coast to coast on television, radio and social media. You can reach her on Twitter @LienYeung or via email at lien.yeung@cbc.ca.