PROVO, Utah – The Provo City Council has voted unanimously to regulate trampoline gyms after years of debate over safety concerns.
Indoor trampoline parks are a big hit with people of all ages, but the popular activity has raised serious concerns over safety issues in Utah County.
“Injuries to the spine, fractures where the bone is shattered, or open fractures: These are injuries that they typically see with high-speed crashes,” said Kim Santiago, a Provo City Council member.
Santiago is also a nurse. Earlier this year, she pushed for safety regulations with backing from Spencer Merrill. It’s an issue that is close to his heart.
Five years ago, his son leaped off a box that was meant for a trampoline, not a pit, at Lowes Xtreme Air Sports. The gym owner says he dove into the foam pit head first. He’s now in a wheelchair.
“Just had some sort of a bad landing, a freak landing, and ended up shattering his C-5 vertebrae," Merrill said.
This week, the Provo City Council voted unanimously to regulate trampoline gyms. Among the rules: businesses must post signs at each pit prohibiting diving, and customers must watch a training video before participating. Businesses are also required to post an injury log on-site.
“Some of the requirements are the thickness of the padding, how high a structure can be, if they’re going to jump off a structure--it shouldn’t be any higher than 4 feet,” Santiago said.
Misty Uribe owns Lowes Xtreme Air Sports, the only trampoline gym in Provo, and she says serious injuries are rare.
“Our injury rate is very low," she said. "It’s .00014, which equates 1.4 out of every 10,000 people that have to see the doctor.”
They’ve already put the regulations in place.
“With our expansion, we added a new kids area," Uribe said. "We added a Lowes pro area that has more training for anyone using this more expert area. We added airbags as well. As well as more padding."
Uribe worked closely with the city council to come up with ways to ensure a safe experience for customers.
“We will continue to improve as we see fit," she said.
The Provo City Council is pushing for statewide regulations of trampoline gyms. They’ve already reached out to some state lawmakers.