The fitness industry has become increasingly competitive. In an effort to entice busy families to join, many advertise on-site child care. The sales pitch assures unsuspecting moms and dads that their kids will be safe and supervised while the parents use the gym facilities. A recent case indicates that isn't necessarily true. Often the facilities are understaffed and children are allowed to play on structures and use devices that are not age appropriate. As a result, kids are getting injured.
The centers then attempt to deny responsibility by hiding behind liability releases contained in membership agreements. Yes, after promising you that your child will be safe and supervised, the center will seek to renege on the promise by pointing out the fine print in the membership agreement. We recently defeated a defense motion for summary judgment on this issue and obtained a settlement for a 4-year-old who broke her arm in the child care facility of a well known fitness center chain. We are pleased to note the little girl in our case is doing fine and now will have a chunk of money for college. The message to parents, however, is that fitness centers are often not equipped to provide adequate and safe child care. Ask questions, ask to see the equipment they will be exposed to, ask about the credentials of the care providers, and use your good judgment.