Birthday parties: Protect your fun from potential injuries

Birthday parties at a gymnastics school are popular ways for kids to celebrate. Plan ahead and safeguard your festive event. 

Utilizing the following recommendations, you can help keep smiles on everyone’s faces.

  • Require signed waivers from all participants. List specific activities on the waiver and make it clear what equipment is off limits. Keep the signed waivers for two years or more. Consult with your attorney on wording, laws, and your state’s statute of limitations. 
  • Regularly inspect your gym before and during the party. Remove any trip and fall hazards. Ensure floor and mat surfaces are clean and dry. Tape down mat edges as needed to ensure they stay secure. Lock down or cordon-off areas and equipment that are off-limits; give special focus to trampolines and other rebound device areas that may require a specific skill set to use. 
  • Designate a location to congregate at the start of the event. Account for all participants, set the ground rules, review the agenda, specify off-limits areas and equipment, and resolve any questions regarding what was reviewed. Designate someone to do this for any late arrivals.  
  • Maintain proper supervision ratios. An instructor to student ratio of 1:8 is preferred. Ensure that no instructor or parent is left alone with children. Conduct frequent head counts to account for every child attending the event. If children are unaccounted for, stop the event until they are located. 
  • Explain your code of conduct and supervision policy to parents. Be sure to include the disciplinary actions that will result when children don’t comply and include this information in your list of rules. 
  • Watch for mischievous adults. Being young at heart is great, but acting on it can lead to very serious injuries. Make sure all parents understand the rules. Parents, grandparents and guardians should not be allowed to use trampolines; regardless of their previous gymnastics experience.  Keeping parents off the gymnastics floor helps to reduce the likelihood of them getting injured. 
  • Keep activities simple. Unless it is a planned activity for entertainment purposes, don’t let a skilled student display highly technical activities, creating the temptation for others to follow and likely resulting in an injury. 
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Have a plan to respond to and contact medical personnel to treat injuries such as concussions, dislocations, elbow contusions, wrist or finger sprains, fractures, and neck or spinal column injuries.

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