Ziplines are Taking Over Arizona – But Are They Safe?

zip-line-1563291If you are looking for a new hobby in Arizona, you might want to think about one that takes place outdoors. With the vastness of the state, the variety in the landscape found here, and the outdoor opportunities already in place, enjoying nature in and around Phoenix may be just the thing for you.

Many businesses have come to this realization in recent years and have capitalized on the adventurous spirit of those who live in Arizona by crafting new and exciting ways to enjoy the scenery. Among them, the zipline industry seems to have popped up overnight with multiple locations and types of ziplining crisscrossing the state.

Perhaps you have been thinking about ziplining one of these weekends or maybe your kids are dying to go with their friends. If you have given any though to ziplining, have you considered the safety implications that go with the activity?

By 2012, there were more than 200 commercial ziplines and 13,000 amateur ziplines in the United States alone. There is no indication that the number of these attractions will slow down or decrease in the coming years and in response, experts predict the number of injuries and deaths associated with ziplines to increase. In 2012, more than 3,600 people were treated in emergency departments due to zipline injuries which averaged out to more than 10 per day. Many of those victims were children and minors who were using a zipline but may not have been capable of understanding the danger associated with it.

These numbers were released in a study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital last year. The study further concluded that broken/fractured bones were the most common injury suffered that required medical attention at nearly one out of every two accidents. Following fractures were bruises, sprains/strains, and closed head injuries.

The study found that children were injured much more often than their adult counterparts when it came to ziplining. In fact, children under the age of 10 suffered approximately half of all ziplining injuries while those aged 10-19 suffered from about 1/3 of the accidents. Adults over the age of 19 made up the remaining victims of these incidents. This discrepancy has caused alarm among many parents who wonder why children are being injured so often and what can be done to prevent these accidents in the future.

Some of the disparity in the rate of injuries is believed to be due to the average age of zipline users. Since more young people use ziplines than adults, it is reasonable to assume that they will incur more injuries. However, experts suspect that other factors are playing a role as well and that the safety of these facilities, lax regulations related to a user’s size and weight, and even a failure to properly supervise young zipliners may be partially to blame.

If you are a parent in Phoenix and your child wants to zipline, make sure you review the facility yourself before giving your permission. Often, ziplining courses will want a parent to sign a waiver for a child to participate but doing so may be risking the rights of your child and your family if an accident takes place. Instead, inquiring about any safety protocols the facility has in place and do some research to determine whether the facility is compliant with state and local laws. It is a good idea to look into a particular facility’s history as well to see if children have been hurt there in the past and, if so, what actions or inactions led to the injury.

When in doubt, do not let your child participate in a potentially dangerous activity, even if they beg and plead to do so. Instead, find a different and safe way to enjoy the day and eliminate any future need you may have to retain a personal injury lawyer to help correct the harm your child experienced due to the negligence of a ziplining facility.

Prior Blog Entry:

Bikers are 27 Times More Likely to Die in a Crash Per Mile Traveled than Car Passengers, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published August 30, 2016.

Resource:

New Focus on Zipline-Related Injuries, Deaths, Claims Journal, published August 31, 2016.

Photo Credit: Mike Goodwin, freeimages.com