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Hidden camera investigation: Trampoline park safety (Marketplace)


[ ♪♪♪ ] -[ Charlsie ] Audio’s recording. Undercover across the country. Oh, my gosh.
Oh, my gosh! -[ Charlsie ] What are
you signing, anyway? Did I read it? No… The possibility of physical
or emotional injury, paralysis, death, and property damage. They just said they don’t
assume any responsibility for your kid. Okay, I’ve seen enough. -[ Charlsie ] The truth about
trampoline parks, on your Marketplace. [ ♪♪♪ ] -[ Charlsie ] It’s
a kids paradise. Cannonball! -[ Charlsie ] Trampoline
parks are bouncing into cities across the country. 360 dunk! -[ Charlsie ] A typical Saturday
afternoon, but with a twist. I did it! I did it! -[ Charlsie ] ‘Cause we’re
inside…with hidden cameras. Is this recording right now?
-Yes. -[ Charlsie ] On a cross-country
safety spot check, it’s an unregulated industry. No one is watching, until now. It’s the birthday party they
want, and the one their friends want to come to. -[ Charlsie ] Sold as
the perfect place for kids parties. Throw yourself in the air and
land in a giant pile of foam. Yeah! -[ Charlsie ]
Afternoons of fun… Oh! I just got stabbed in the hand.
I think it was by the spring. I don’t know. -[ Charlsie ] ..landing
some people in the ER. We don’t know what’s going on
right now, but it seems like there’s a little
situation behind us. As you can see,
I’m in a lot of pain. I just, like, broke
my foot or something. I hit my nose super hard. -[ Charlsie ] Leaving others
with debilitating injuries. Last year, 17-year-old Landon
Smith breaks his neck in the foam pit at this trampoline part
in Sherwood Park, Alberta. He’s now a quadriplegic. Then, at this park in Hamilton,
Ontario, 18-year-old Blake Davies breaks his
neck, paralyzing him from the chest down. And earlier this year in
Richmond, BC, Jay Greenwood dies, in front of his two young
daughters, after jumping into the foam pit. That’s why we’re visiting
trampoline parks across the country, in Ontario, Alberta,
Nova Scotia, and BC… Awesome. You guys are all
good to go until 6:30. -[ Charlsie ] ..to find
out what’s going on. They’re selling this as a
fun, family event that can include all ages.
It’s misleading. The reality is that those
younger children are at very high risk of injury. -[ Charlsie ] Dr Laura Purcell
agrees to look at some of what we see. She’s part of a team tracking
kids’ injuries at 18 hospitals across the country. With trampoline parks, the
main concern is that the tensile strength of
the mat itself is stronger, so that
the bounce is harder, so it’s more
jarring to the body, so kids are getting
a lot more leg injuries because of that bounce. -[ Charlsie ] The hospital data
shows that bounce leads to a higher proportion
of lower body injuries at trampoline
parks compared to backyard trampolines. The other thing that we
see is when there are multiple jumpers on
at the same time, a phenomenon
called double bounce. One kid is bouncing while the
other kid is either coming down or up, and they can’t
control the bounce. -[ Charlsie ] Like what we
capture here at this park in the Ottawa area. Watch the little girl
in the purple shirt. So, they’re being
affected by the bounce of the other people on the mat. It’s one person
per trampoline, so you can’t double jump. So right there. She’s just done a somersault. Landing into a soft pit,
which…any medical organization that has a statement on
trampolines recommends against. -[ Charlsie ] Flips… Yeah, any kind of
flips or somersaults. -[ Charlsie ] Yet everywhere we
visit, at trampoline Park after trampoline Park,
that’s what we see. 36% of children’s face
and neck injuries in trampoline parks are the result of
stunts and flips. Compare that to just 13%
in backyard trampolines. There’s a
little tiny, tiny girl. -[ Charlsie ] Oh, she looks wee. Oh!
See? -[ Charlsie ] She hit the… Yeah, so the potential there
is she’s on a bouncy surface and lands on a hard surface, sending
a shock or jar up her spine. The potential is that you could
get a compression fracture of the vertebrae in the back. -[ Charlsie ] Just
from doing that? Mmm-hmm. -[ Charlsie ] That is something
this family in Victoria, BC knows too well. Last year, Sylvie
Gilbert’s daughter’s life… This is her in this brace. -[ Charlsie ] ..changes
forever, in a split second. While visiting family in
Kelowna, grandma takes Chelsea and her brother to the local
trampoline park, EnergyPlex. After hearing other kids talk
about it, Chelsea decides to do a belly flop
into the foam pit. When she landed her
back bent backwards, so she hyperextended her back
and she heard a crack, and she had so much
pain in that moment. -[ Charlsie ] Later
back at grandma’s… I asked her to stand up and
that’s when she realized she couldn’t stand up. She couldn’t feel her legs. -[ Charlsie ] Wow. Um, and then she started
saying, “My bum is burning hot. “My legs are burning hot. “It’s so much pain, Mom.” This is the medevac. This is her waiting the
day after her injury. -[ Charlsie ] Chelsea
is airlifted to BC Children’s Hospital. It was, just sinking in hour
by hour how serious the gravity of
the situation was. This is spinal cord. This is her legs. This is her inability to walk. It opens up like
that, and I had to get that on. -[ Charlsie ] Wow. And you wore this for how
long, about six months? Five months. When I hit the foam, then I,
like– I heard, like– I heard, like, a crack and
it really hurt. -[ Charlsie ] Did you
cry at all? No. -[ Charlsie ] Not at all? Just sometimes–
I didn’t cry when it happened. Just sometimes after
when I got really scared. -[ Charlsie ] Today, they’re
heading into yet another physio appointment. And we’re going to bring
your hip down a little bit. Can you feel if I were to put a
bottle on your back that that wouldn’t roll off there? -[ Charlsie ] Turns out when
Chelsea does that belly flop, she tears the ligaments
in her spine. Bring your back
foot in a little bit. -[ Charlsie ] She’s diagnosed
with a spinal cord injury. Lean all your weight forward. We are seeing injuries that are
occurring at speed and force that we would not normally see. -[ Charlsie ] Krista Williams,
Chelsea’s physiotherapist. The doctors are
predicting that she will need a spinal fusion. If she doesn’t have the
ligamentous system holding one of her vertebrae in, they
actually need to go in and place in hardware, metal, to
screw them together so that this will stop moving. -[ Charlsie ] How big of a
challenge is it for someone to fully recover from this? Is that even possible? We can’t return her
to how she was before. Okay, 1 foot… She can’t keep
up with her friends. She can’t do the
same activities. She can’t play soccer.
She loved soccer. I’d cry myself to sleep just not
knowing what kind of pain, what kind of life she’s
going to live. -[ Charlsie ] Back on our
undercover inspection, more close calls caught on
camera. At this park in BC an
employee describes what they see. -[ Charlsie ] And get this. Here the lights go out for
five minutes every half hour. This is a
safety announcement. Do not sit or lay
down on the trampolines. -[ Charlsie ] Audio
is recording? I want to see for myself
what it’s like to jump, so I head into my local park. Do people get hurt here a lot? They do? After paying 18 bucks
for an hour, I’m sent on my way
to start jumping. No instruction. No orientation. Remember the
dangers of double bounce? This sign says, “Always
one jumper per trampoline.” Yet we see multiple kids jumping
on the same trampoline, and no one stops them. Next, I check out
another park nearby. There’s a short safety video. No one seems to be watching. Doesn’t take long before
we see someone get hurt. Guys, be careful.
Walk back on the blue. And you’ve gotta
line up here, okay? Line up behind him. -[ Charlsie ] Then we
watch as this little guy tries to somersaults into
the foam pit… [ Gasps ] -[ Charlsie ] This is your
Marketplace. Back on our safety spot check, undercover inside
trampoline parks. From popular chains,
to independents all across the country. This little boy does a
somersault into the foam pit, narrowly missing his
head on the edge. We’re giving kids superhuman
abilities when we put them on a– on a trampoline, and we need to remind ourselves
that they don’t have the training behind that. -[ Charlsie ] Makes me wonder,
can you have sky-high fun and still stay safe? Hey, Dawn.
-Hey, Charlsie. How are you? -[ Charlsie ] Dawn
Izzard sure thinks so. She’s the recreation manager
at Burlington Gymnastics Club. We’re gonna go out there,
we’re gonna learn about our safety rules. -[ Charlsie ] Here they run
weekly trampoline classes for kids six and up. Using our walking feet, we’re
going to come on over to the middle of the floor. We’re going to say
hello to Coach Sarah. So we land in what’s
called the motorcycle. -[ Charlsie ] First Sarah shows
me how to stop properly on the trampoline. So we practice by just
going up here and then landing. -[ Charlsie ] And why
do I want to do that? So that the G-forces
are absorbed properly through each joint. So, we’re going to head
over to the Tumble Track. -[ Charlsie ] Okay. So my arms are
going to be up here? Yeah, arms are gonna be up.
-[ Charlsie ] And I’m just… Jumped all the way, yeah. -[ Charlsie ] Look at me go! Land in a motorcycle. Good job! -[ Charlsie ] Why don’t I
just go onto the big one first? Because you have to make sure
you know how to control your body first. -[ Charlsie ] So what do I do
with my hands in the Star? They’re out? Yeah, you just
kind of jump out, yeah. And motorcycle. You’ve got to try and bend
your knees a little bit more. -[ Charlsie ] Star! Talk!
-Oh, wow. Wow!
-[ Charlsie ] Star. Okay there you go. Good job. Ready to try the real
trampolines over here? -[ Charlsie ] Okay. Move through my arms?
-Yeah. -[ Charlsie ] Wooh! Wooh!
-And then motorcycle to stop. -[ Charlsie ] Okay. Good job. -[ Charlsie ] What do you think
the biggest difference is from coming into a place like this
versus just walking into a park? We have our coaches within
arm reach all the time of all our gymnasts that are on the
trampoline or the tumble track. Our coaches are all certified,
they take trampoline courses, we do in- house training with
trampoline progressions and drills too. -[ Charlsie ] Dawn’s been
coaching for more than 25 years, so we ask her to tag
along on our undercover safety spot check. This time, we’re
checking out Aerosports. They’re just running.
They’re just wild. Oh, my God. Okay, I’ve seen enough. -[ Charlsie ] With employees
looking on, kids jump from this block, bouncing from the
trampoline onto a hard surface. Ah!
-Oh, buddy, no flips on there. It just makes sense to put a
block up that you would encourage them to jump from. These girls are far too small
to be jumping from a height. -[ Charlsie ] As we watch, one
of the girls jumps, putting her knee into her own eye. -[ Charlsie ] So what’s the
most surprising thing here? Just the running,
the near collisions that you see a lot of. That is, that block. Yeah. And just not
enforcing the rules. -[ Charlsie ] One rule they are
enforcing, here and at every other park we visit,
is to make sure everyone signs one of these. What do I have to do to jump? But how many of us
actually read those waivers? Come on, strength in numbers. So, trampoline
parks, have you been? Yes.
-Yeah. -[ Charlsie ] You’ve been?
-Yes. -[ Charlsie ] You guys ever
been? Sky Zone. I’ve been to Sky Zone. -[ Charlsie ] Anything catch
your attention at all about the waiver? I usually don’t
read that kind of stuff. I just signed it because
it’s a requirement right. -[ Charlsie ] Do you
remember reading the waiver? Did I read it? No. I probably didn’t
read the entire waiver. That’s probably the most… -[ Charlsie ] You don’t
think you read the whole thing? No. -[ Charlsie ] It’s your lucky
day, because I’ve got a Sky Zone waiver right here. Oh, excellent. All right. “In exchange for Sky Zone
allowing me or my child to participate in
trampoline activities, I agree as follows…” Oh, my god! -[ Charlsie ] What do you think? It was somewhat concerning. You’re like, wow, broken bones,
they’re not watching my kids. -[ Charlsie ] Yeah. You know, those are two
things that, you know, that are kind of scary. Basically the onus is on you as
the parent to watch your kid at all times. -[ Charlsie ] Or the staff, who
according to the waiver, it says– Or the staff you hope, yeah,
but they just said they don’t assume any responsibility
for your kids. -[ Charlsie ] Waivers from the
other trampoline parks in our survey have
similar wording. But we noticed this particular
line at Flying Squirrel. “There is also a risk that
Flying Squirrel employee’s may be negligent in, among other
things, monitoring or supervising use of
it’s equipment and facilities in the maintenance and repair of
it’s equipment and facilities.” Yeah, that goes a little far. Well, it’s saying that the
staff don’t take responsibilities for the
equipment and stuff like that? That’s mad because you
wouldn’t expect that. No, that’s not good, yeah.
-No. -[ Charlsie ] And listen
carefully to this next part. “I agree to give up my rights
to sue Sky Zone for any damage, expense, physical or emotional
injury, paralysis or death, that I or my family or estate
may suffer…” “I may be found by a court of
law to have waived my or my minor participant right to
maintain a lawsuit against Flying Squirrel.” So we’re giving all
our rights away I guess. Why can’t we sue, right? We’re not suing for, like–
they’re covered for this. -[ Charlsie ] Good question. Time for a little legal advice. In Victoria, I head into see
someone who has represented injured victims at every level
of court in Canada. Hi, Darren. Hi. -[ Charlsie ]
Charlsie from Marketplace. Nice to meet you. -[ Charlsie ] We ask lawyer
Darren Williams to take a look at a typical trampoline
park waiver. “I agree, on behalf
of my child to accept and assume all risks…” Okay, that is not binding,
I’ll say that right now. This agreement purports to have
the parent say they accept the risk on behalf of the child,
they can’t do that. -[ Charlsie ] If I’m signing
this, I feel like, wow, this seems totally legally binding
and extremely intimidating. That’s part of the trick, if
you will, is to make the person signing the waiver feel like
they have no hope around the waiver. When a parent signs on behalf of
the child, they can’t contract away the child’s rights to sue
if they’re injured. -[ Charlsie ] They can’t?
-No. -[ Charlsie ] Do you think
most people understand that? People are so used to seeing
them nowadays that they just assume that
they’re effective and that essentially scares away
a large number of people from bringing rightful claims. How was school? Fine. Yeah? -[ Charlsie ] It’s not scaring
away Sylvie Gilbert and her daughter, Chelsea. With Williams as their lawyer,
they’re suing that Kelowna trampoline park, EnergyPlex. What are you hoping for? How can I
change this industry? How can I make it safer? To protect
Chelsea for her future. But also to
protect other children. To make the industry aware that,
you know, that this is– you can’t stand behind these waivers, that you need to
protect these children. -[ Charlsie ] We reach out to
all the parks about their waivers. Most don’t
address them directly. All of them do say
safety is a top priority. And some say they provide
training for their staff. Others add the use signs and
rules to warn about risks. -[ Charlsie ] The truth
about trampoline parks on your Marketplace. [ ♪♪♪ ] -[ Charlsie ] The last stop on
our cross-country safety spot check of trampoline parks… I
need you to sign the waiver. -[ Charlsie ]
EnergyPlex, in Kelowna, BC. These two boys
start double bouncing. The supervising
employee intervenes. But then this baby is allowed to
crawl across the trampoline, getting double bounced
by an older boy. This sign says, “Do not enter
the foam pit until the landing area is clear, but
we see kid after kid not wait before jumping. The employee doesn’t stop them. Almost getting
jumped on himself. It was here in this same
foam pit last year that Chelsea Garrod did a
belly flop, injuring her spine. The sign also says,
“No belly flops.” I show what happens next
to Chelsea’s mom, Sylvie. Oh, boy looks like
he’s thinking about– Oh, God. He did a bellyflop. What? Where’s the staff? That was the
platform I jumped off. -[ Charlsie ] That
one right there? Yeah. Oh, my God! Oh, my God! That’s exactly what I did. Even after it happened,
they know it happened, they didn’t tell anyone to stop. -[ Charlsie ] We ask EnergyPlex
to come on camera and explain. They say no, and add they can’t
talk about Chelsea’s case because it is before the courts. When we share the results of our
safety spot check with the parks, some tell us they’re
concerned about our findings. A few say they follow voluntary
industry guidelines, and a couple say they’d welcome
government regulation. A business providing an
activity has to provide reasonably safe premises. In the case of trampoline parks there really is no government
oversight right now, there’s a loose standard adopted partially
by the industry, but not very well followed at all or
proven to be safe. -[ Charlsie ] So until
someone is watching… Ahhh! -[ Charlsie ]
..watch out for yourself. [ ♪♪♪ ] You should see some of
the reckless drivers I see on the road. -[David] Truck safety. We’re going to put you in that
truck and Carol’s going to put you through the gears. Who passes the driving test? Whoa! David: Hard stop. Now he’s pulling
through a red light. And does anyone ever fail? [ ♪♪♪ ]

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