The Consumer Council has issued a warning about indoor trampoline facilities that have been gaining in popularity in the city in recent years.
The watchdog said it has received complaints about kids hurting themselves while playing at the facilities and that the indoor parks are not regulated under the Public Entertainment License law.
Some operators are using disclaimers to evade liability in case of injury to their customers, the Council said, accusing the parks of misleading people into giving up their right to claim redress.
It suggested that the government should put in a licensing regime for the parks as is being done in the United Kingdom.
The Council cited some examples of complaints it received about trampoline parks in Hong Kong.
In one case, a local mother said her son hurt his head and had to be rushed to hospital after he lost his balance and crashed into the rim of a trampoline.
The park failed to ensure the safety of the players as the facility was overcrowded and understaffed, the mother complained.
She claimed that the park escaped responsibility by resorting to a disclaimer clause which unwary people are forced to sign up.
After receiving the complaint, the Consumer Council contacted the Food and Environment Hygiene Department for further information. The latter responded that trampoline was not a regulated “entertainment” activity under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance.
It was deemed to be just a sports facility for which there were already standards and guidelines in place on proper use, set up by relevant international sports associations for reference of operators, management or premises owners.
Given the loopholes, the Council has recommended that authorities should consider making amendments to the Ordinance.
Reporters from Ming Pao Daily went to a trampoline park in Quarry Bay on Monday. Around a dozen children were seen playing under the supervision of their parents.
Staff said the park could accommodate 100 people a time at most. Each staffer takes care of around 20 players.
The person in charge of the facility told the newspaper that the park accommodates around 1000 to 2000 people per week, most of them children.
He admitted that some young players may be suffering ankle injuries once in a while, but insisted that the park hasn’t received any complaints from parents.
He emphasized that the park has gained safety certification.
Dr Patrick Yung Shu-hang of the CUHK Sports Medicine Teaching Clinic said trampoline players face the risk of twisting their ankles.
Beginners should be kept under close supervision, he said, warning that some accidents may lead to cervical dislocation.
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