In the 1970s and into the 80s, roller rinks were the fad. Today, society is ever health-conscious and fitness centers are extremely popular. Many of these centers offer childcare so mom and dad can work out or enjoy a fitness class. Others, offer classes for children to enjoy such things as rock climbing or tumbling.
Is standard practice for many healthcare centers that offer childcare is to ask the parents to sign a liability form purporting to waive responsibility for injury to the children while under the care of the fitness center.
We recently wrote an article outlining the law in the state of Texas with regard to liability waivers for injuries to children.
In short, the fact that the parents of a child may have signed a liability waiver does not necessarily completely release the facility for acts of negligence when a child may have been injured.
Fortunately, many fitness facilities believe that their paperwork resolves some of the claims for injury to a child when they were improperly supervised. Additionally, many even have the gall to suggest that the child themselves were responsible or even the child’s parents.
In Texas, for children of tender age, the defense of comparative negligence is not available. For slightly older children, the standard of care is that of a child of that age. Trying to hold a child responsible is a tough sell in the state of Texas.
Fitness facilities and caregivers of minor children should take extra caution to ensure the child they are supervising and caring for does not become injured. Parents entrust their most precious possessions to these caregivers and there was little less distressing than learning that someone did not adequately watch your child and allowed them to become injured.
One thing that fitness centers can do to enhance their services to their members and also protect children is to add quality caregivers in a reasonable relationship and number to the number of children in their care.
One of the leading causes of child injury is the failure of the facility to have adequate numbers of adults supervising the children. Supervision should be such that an adult has eyes on the child under their care at all times.
If your child has been injured at a fitness center or by a caregiver and you would like to speak to an attorney about your rights and options, feel free to give us a call.