IATP reacts to trampoline safety criticisms

Story on rise in number of accidents fails to appreciate rise in park openings

The IATP has reacted to a story in the Independent newspaper’s online i magazine, criticising the safety record of its members.

The site wrote a story based on data provided under Freedom of Information rules to show that ambulances were called to 68 trampoline parks from Exeter to Edinburgh on 760 occasions in 2016, compared to 489 incidents in 2015. The tally, based on responses from 11 ambulance trusts in England, Scotland and Wales, represents a 55 per cent increase in calls over a single year.

However, figures for the first eight months of 2017 show there were 444 calls, a decrease of around 21 per cent compared to same period in 2016. The decrease follows the introduction in March of a new safety code for trampoline parks, setting out for the first time minimum standards for their design and operating procedures as well as introducing an inspection system.

The increase from 2015 to 2016 fails to factor in the corresponding increase in the number of new parks being opened.

The International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP), which commissioned a code of standards in consultation with safety bodies, said it believed the main explanation for the increase in the number of emergency call outs was the rapid rise in park openings – around 100 in a single year between 2015 and 2016 – resulting in far more people using the facilities.

Peter Brown, a founding member of the UK branch of the IATP and managing director of the Freedome trampoline park chain, said: “The increase between 2015 and 2016 is primarily down to the rapid growth in parks and therefore customer numbers.

“The sector in general has matured in 2016 and 2017, with operators getting better at managing the risk of injuries in parks… The IATP is committed to its mission to serve our membership by promoting optimally safe operations.”

ROSPA  – The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents –  which helped draw up the safety standards, said it was continuing to monitor injury rates. David Walker, leisure safety manager for the organisation, said: “With the introduction of the standard, there is definitely better awareness of the legal duties that trampoline park operators have and how these relate to practice.”

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