Whether you are a San Diego County resident with kids who enjoy zip lining, or if you live in another part of the country and are planning a trip with your family to an area of Southern California where zip lining is popular, it is important to understand that zip lining can come with injury risk. Indeed, zip line accidents happen more often than you might think, and these accidents frequently happen because of another party’s negligence. As an article in HealthyChildren.org explains, zip lines are a “common attraction at camps, amusement parks, and in backyards . . . across the U.S.,” yet not all zip lines are created equal in terms of their safety ratings.
Whether your kids are planning to zip line, whether it is close to home or on a zip lining adventure on vacation or at camp, you should learn more about the activity and ways to avoid zip line injuries.
Zip Line Injuries are Becoming an “Epidemic”
Zip lining is a popular activity in many parts of Southern California, and some people even set up zip lines in their own backyards. As zip lines become more popular with kids and families, the injury rate associated with zip line accidents has risen. According to Dr. Gary A. Smith, a former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, the number of zip line accidents that emergency room physicians and pediatricians are treating rises to the level of “an epidemic by any definition.”
As Dr. Smith emphasized, “many zip lines are not regulated, and there are no uniform safety standards.” Accordingly, there is a wide range of safety (and, on the flip side, risk) when it comes to zip lines.
Need for Better Zip Line Safety Training
Not only do parents need to be aware of who has created the zip line and who is running it, but they also need to be certain that their kids have the proper training to avoid a serious accident. Between 1997 and 2012, emergency departments treated almost 17,000 zip line injuries. That figure comes from a 2015 study conducted by Dr. Smith, who also determined that approximately 50% of all those injuries involved children under the age of 10. Then, about 33% of those injuries involved kids between the ages of 10 and 19. To put that information another way, more than 80% of all zip line injuries requiring emergency department visits affected kids.
According to Dr. Smith, “if kids are using [zip lines], you really need to make sure they’re using them in places where people are trained, they know what they’re doing, and the zip lines have been constructed in a way that they’re not going to fail.”
Tips for Parents for Zip Line Safety
What can parents do to make zip lining safer? The HealthyChildren.org article offers the following tips:
- Ensure that kids wear a helmet, a harness, and gloves;
- Require operators to be trained in safety protocols;
- Ask how often the zip line equipment is inspected and maintained (this should happen regularly);
- Only use zip lines that have safety rules and that require participants to follow those rules.
Contact a Valley Center Zip Line Accident Lawyer
If your child was injured in a zip line accident, a Valley Center zip line accident attorney may be able to help. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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(image courtesy of Perry Grone)