Durham, N.C. — Trampoline arenas are popping up all around the country, prompting concern by some parents about their safety.
At Defy Gravity Trampoline arena in Durham, there are high-flyers, skilled flippers, and even little bouncers like Tara Mullins’ son, Nicholas.
Mullins brings her 4-year-old and his siblings to Defy Gravity about once a month.
“I think it’s really good exercise for me and them,” she said.
Mullins said during the workout she keeps in mind the potential danger of trampolines, especially at indoor facilities where a lot of people jump together.
Mike Carpenter, the owner of Defy Gravity, said in the past 14 months the arena has been open, he’s had more than 200,000 customers. In that same time, there have been 53 injuries.
He said that’s a low number, compared with other active sports.
“A lot of it is personal responsibility,” Carpenter said. “If you come out to get hurt, you’ll get hurt.”
Jimmy Rogers took his son to Defy Gravity last year, and the boy was injured.
“He hit his mouth, crushed the bone of the jaw and knocked two teeth completely out and a third most of the way out,” Rogers said.
He admits his son is probably to blame, but he would like to see more regulations placed on the fast-growing trampoline park industry.
Now, there are about 160 trampoline parks around the country.
Recently calls for more safety regulations in the industry led the American Society for Testing and Materials, a group that develops technical standards for products, to create a set of standards for parks like Defy Gravity.
The new rules range from maintenance and operation to installation of trampolines.
The state’s Department of Labor is deciding whether to adopt the new standards. The standards provide detailed information on the design of trampolines, covering topics such as device analysis, drawings and records, and regulatory body review.
“Anything we can do better, I’m always for that,” Carpenter said.