'Very frightening': Toddler falls through springs at B.C. trampoline park
Published Saturday, August 25, 2018 5:45PM PDT
A Surrey, B.C. woman is adding her voice to calls for trampoline parks to be regulated after a "very frightening" experience involving her three-year-old son.
Last week, the toddler fell through the springs and onto the floor below at a park in Richmond where a father died earlier this year.
Ravi Gill-Douglas's son was at a birthday party at Extreme Air Park when he fell between the springs at the edge of one of the trampolines, hitting the floor below.
She said she and other parents had been watching from a platform when a staff member approached to tell them they had to buy socks.
"So I'm distracted this way, looking at, talking to the employee, as are the other moms," she said.
Then a little girl came running over to them and let them know what had happened to the boy.
Gill-Douglas and the other parents ran over to the trampolines.
"I could then hear him yelling, 'Mom, mom,'" she said.
"My heart's just pounding."
She said she initially tried to get him engaged and playing again, but when he didn't seem up to it, he was taken to hospital to be checked out.
The boy is going to be OK, but the incident has Gill-Douglas adding her name to a list of people calling for government oversight when it comes to safety at facilities like Extreme Air Park.
"I don't want this to happen to another child or another family," she said.
Similar calls for government intervention were made earlier this year following the death of 46-year-old Jason "Jay" Greenwood. He was fatally injured in January when he somersaulted into a foam pit.
Greenwood, who left behind three young stepchildren, landed in a way that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest.
Five months after his death, his family filed a notice of civil claim against the park and the company that owns three other locations of Extreme Air Parks for damages including loss of love, guidance and financial support.
And that lawsuit is not the first instance of legal action involving Extreme Air Parks. The company has settled following two previous claims after determining it was more cost effective than pursuing the cases in court.
The park's owner himself wrote a letter to Premier John Horgan earlier this year calling for provincial safety regulations for the industry.
The City of Richmond is also calling for regulations in a motion coming to the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
"I've heard from people who've been to trampoline parks and are concerned about the safety, concerned about the training of staff," City Coun. Alexa Loo said.
"I think it's important that we regulate trampoline parks and provide that level of safety for people."
A few days after the incident involving Gill-Douglas's son, an email was sent to the family that had hosted the birthday party apologizing for the incident.
"I hope your son is doing well," the vice-president of operations wrote.
"Any incident in our facility, regardless of significance, is something that always bothers me… Please accept (my) apology. This is not the experience I want any customer to have."
The email says about three in 1,000 people get injured at the facility, an incident rate he called very low. The majority of injuries are no more than a bruise or scrape, he wrote.
He told the family staff do two visual inspections a day, and more thorough inspections are conducted each week.
The VP added that while the park has netting under the trampolines in case of tears, the incident last week encouraged them to add netting under spring rails as well.
When CTV reached out to the company Saturday, Extreme Air Park alleged surveillance video showed the boy "playing with the Velcro" that covers the springs.
They said he wasn't jumping at the time of the fall but was leaning on a wall. He was assessed by the park's first aid team and then returned to jumping, the company said.
It would not let CTV view the footage because it includes minors.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber