Another Extreme Air Park accident prompts renewed calls for regulation

Richmond News


Dr. Nancy Austin, department head for emergency medicine at Richmond Hospital, says she’s seen a “dramatic” increase in trampoline-related injuries.

Another accident at Extreme Air Park in Richmond has led to renewed calls for regulations of such indoor trampoline facilities.

Ravi Gill-Douglas told the Richmond News she intends to not give up on ensuring the provincial government properly regulates trampoline parks, following an accident involving her three-year-old son at the Triangle Road facility, where, in January, 46-year-old Jay Greenwood died after jumping into the foam pit.

Gill-Douglas said her son fell between springs and then below a trampoline, several feet below, as she was momentarily distracted by staff to buy special jumping socks. The boy did not suffer any serious injuries but was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital to be monitored.

Jamie McHardy, who had invited the Gill-Douglas family to her son’s birthday party last week, told the News the only witness to the accident was another child, a four-year-old girl who ran to get assistance.

“Throughout the ordeal the staff seemed unaware of any process whatsoever to be performed in the case of an accident. There were no staff in or around the trampoline area, only at the front desk,” said McHardy, via email.

Extreme Air Park denied culpability in the incident and claims its staff acted appropriately.

“Prior to this surveillance shows that he was playing with the Velcro at the spring flap which prevents exposure of the springs,” stated Extreme Air Park’s vice-president of operations Thomas McCullough, via email.

“Our team acted quickly, the boy was retrieved, and our First Aid team assessed him.

“We require all jumpers under 5 be accompanied by an adult. The mother paid to accompany the child but was not with the child at the time,” stated McCullough, who went on to say the facility follows international ASTM Trampoline Park standards.

Notably, the Canadian Pediatric Society and Health Canada oppose the use of trampolines by anyone under age seven.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has called on provincial regulator Technical Safety B.C. to regulate the construction and maintenance of trampoline parks, as presently it does not.

In addition VCH’s Chief Medical Officer Patricia Daly is also calling for “operational requirements including minimum staffing ratios, staff training, critical incident documentation and reporting standards, insurance requirements, mandatory rules for user behaviour and appropriate education and signage for users.”

In order to achieve this, the City of Richmond is expected to ask the provincial government, via a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities next month, to amend its laws.

When Greenwood died, witnesses reported a similar slow reaction and improper supervision at Extreme Air Park.

When asked via email what kind of first aid training his staff have, McCullough replied: “We have [a] First Aid room, including a comprehensive First Aid Kit and we pay for our staff to get First Aid Certified as part of their employment.”

In an email forwarded to the News from McHardy, McCullough said staff have Level 1 First Aid. He also apologized for the incident and stated staff had restored the alleged tampered portion of the springs. As well, the park would be installing safety nets below the springs, he said.