Sleepovers and parties: loads of fun, lots of opportunity for injuries

Birthday Event

Sleepovers and birthday parties are popular ways for kids to celebrate a special occasion. Without proper planning, however, a festive event can turn unpleasant quickly. Here’s one example of what can go wrong. Due to unsupervised roughhousing at a sleepover, one child was severely hurt, suffering a displaced clavicle fracture. Utilizing the following recommendations, the facility owners might have prevented the accident:

  • Require signed waivers from all participants.
    • List specific activities on the waiver.
    • Keep the signed waivers for two years or more.
    • Consult with your attorney on wording, laws, and your state’s statute of limitations.
  • Inspect your facility before and during the party, regularly. Remove any trip and fall hazards. Ensure floor and mat surfaces are clean and dry; tape down mat edges. Lock or cordon off areas and equipment that are off-limits.
  • Designate a location to congregate at the start of the event. Account for all participants, set the ground rules, review the agenda, and specify off-limits areas and equipment. It’s also helpful to list these rules on a document, signed by participants and parents.
  • Maintain proper supervision ratios. At Markel, we require a minimum student-to-adult ratio of 8:1. Ensure that no instructor or parent is left alone with children.
  • Explain your supervision policy to parents. Be sure to include the disciplinary actions that will result when kids 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.
  • Keep activities simple. Don’t let a skilled student display highly technical activities, creating the temptation for others to follow and likely resulting in an injury.
Birthday Event
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