A new law gives the state more authority over trampoline parks, but it also makes jumpers more responsible for their own safety.
The law gives trampoline parks — two in Tucson and seven in the Phoenix area — 90 days to comply with new safety standards.
Parks must register annually with the state, show proof of liability insurance, certify they’ve been inspected by an insurance company, log emergency calls to the park and notify jumpers about the risk of injury.
The law also allows the Arizona Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety to close a park that doesn’t meet requirements.
Two trampoline parks opened in Tucson last year: Get Air, 330 S. Toole Ave., in downtown Tucson, and AZ Air Time Jump Center, 3931 W. Costco Drive, near Thornydale and Orange Grove roads in Marana.
Trauma doctors at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson have seen 11 people who were injured in trampoline accidents since January 2013, said Arvie Webster, trauma program manager.
Among the most serious accidents at Get Air were a broken neck and broken legs. UAMC is a Level 1 trauma center, which treats the severely injured. The most common trampoline-related injuries are ankle injuries, Webster said.
State Rep. Doug Coleman (R-Apache Junction) introduced the bill on the request of the mother of a 30-year-old man who died of injuries he sustained at a Phoenix trampoline park. The family was concerned minimum safety standards weren’t being met, Coleman said.
The International Association of Trampoline Parks helped pass the bill, and now hopes to use it as a model for legislation in other states, said association board member Ed Reed.
“We believe it protects patrons and the industry,” he said. “Without it we think our industry would be in trouble.”
It’s difficult to say whether the new regulations will help prevent injuries, but they do require better supervision, Webster said.
“It’s a start,” she said.
Industry standards for trampoline parks were codified last year by ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Insurance companies have begun trying to enforce the voluntary standards. But having state standards is important too, said Reed, who is also vice president of Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park, which operates two parks in the Phoenix area.
The new law affords a trampoline park some protection against negligence claims, Coleman said, because it’s difficult to argue for negligence if the park is meeting industry and state standards.
Reed said most Arizona trampoline parks have some work to do to come into compliance, but most already meet the new $1 million liability insurance requirement.
The ASTM standards require supervision by one staff member for every 32 jumpers and also limit how many people can be on a trampoline at once.
The majority of trampoline-related injuries happen when people are jumping together or doing somersaults and flips, Webster said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons have issued statements about the injury risk of trampolines.
Reed acknowledged the risks and said parents need to be able to make informed decisions, weighing exercise, fun and family time against safety concerns.
“There is an inherent risk coming to a trampoline park,” he said. “We want them to be responsible when they come in. If they follow our rules we think that risk substantially decreases.”
The new state rules also push responsibility for safety back to park visitors.
The bill requires people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, who are not healthy enough for jumping, or who could cause some other kind of safety problem to exclude themselves from trampoline parks.