Having a gym, pool, or fitness center can be a risky endeavor, but when your main clientele is children, your risks increase in unique ways. Children are adept at finding dangerous situations and testing them – remember watching your baby as she learned to roll over and remembering life just got a lot more complicated now? How about when your toddler started running with reliable speed – suddenly outpacing you with surprising agility and velocity – and you realized your front yard by the street felt way less safe all of a sudden?
Kids fall, it’s a part of growing up, and parents and doctors know this. If your gym caters to littles, it’s not a matter of if someone gets hurt, but when and how. Playground injuries are common – ERs see more than 200,000 playground-related injuries annually according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Luckily, there are many ways you can protect the smallest visitors to your gym and also protect your business from the additional exposures these pint-sized gymnasts can bring with them.
Read on to learn more about the unique risks and exposures faced by gyms for children then contact us at Reinig Insurance Solutions to learn more about how to protect your business.
Kids Gyms Are Risky Business
Gyms and other fitness centers that are designed for children or that host parties for kids have to be aware of the additional risks they face. There is sad precedence for lawsuits and claims against these businesses. In 2018, a 7-year-old boy died after a fall from a zipline at a children’s gym near Chicago. The boy was attending a birthday party for a classmate. He was reportedly not secured to the zipline with a harness and wasn’t wearing a helmet when the fatal accident occurred. This is why taking the proper training protocols with your staff is critical to ensuring safety procedure implementation for the well-being of your clients and staff.
Trampoline parks are a relatively new addition to recreational centers and fitness centers for children, and they bring many risks. Reports abound of children with various injuries: an 11-year-old with a fractured ankle when another child landed on her leg; a four-year-old with a sprained ankle; a six-year-old with cuts that were bleeding; a child with a skull fracture; and a nine-year-old with fractures to several parts in his leg.
These are some of the more extreme examples, but simple things happen with curious, energy-filled children all the time. A child pushes their friend too close to the pool, children wildly swing a jump rope through the air in a made-up game, or a little one decides to take a big bite out of a foam yoga mat with toxic properties – all of these incidents make up daily life with children, but at a gym, they can become heightened risks.
How to Protect Your Gym or Fitness Business From Child-Sized Risks
While there are many risks you face while operating your business, there are also ways to protect yourself.
Sound management rules are important.
It’s critical to have sound operating procedures that your staff receives rigorous, practiced training around. Make sure your team knows the reasoning behind safety protocols so they buy into the importance of following these procedures every single time. This simple act of following safety guidelines would have likely saved the life of the 7-year-old who was killed on the zipline. He was allowed to zipline with no safety equipment, but a helmet and harness are standard. With those pieces of equipment, his accident would have been minimal or wouldn’t have happened. Have your staff follow safety protocols in every encounter.
Train your staff well.
Everyone working at your business should be well-trained. Having people working with you who are good at spotting and minimizing risks is helpful. At the least make sure your staff is observant and approachable, so they are around and interacting with the kids. Keeping your customers safe should be everyone’s job. Make sure you have enough people with first aid and other life-saving training available and that staff know emergency protocols like how to access first-aid kits and when to call 911.
Purchase the proper business insurance.
Don’t risk having the wrong coverage in place. Insurance for gyms, especially children’s gyms, is complicated and critical to get it right. A Commercial General Liability Policy or Business Owner’s Policy is a good place to start, but you’ll likely need some specialized coverage to package with it. We can help you – we’ll look at your business together and discuss your exposures and current coverage to identify any gaps to ensure you’re covered where it matters the most for your clients, staff, and your business.
Insurance Coverage to Consider for Kids Gyms
There are several insurance coverages to consider purchasing to protect your business.
Commercial General Liability
A must for most businesses, your CGL is your first line of defense if someone sues you for causing physical injury or damaging their property. This is basic commercial coverage most businesses need, and gyms are no different. The CGL is available in various amounts of coverage so you can decide the level of protection right for your fitness business.
Accident Medical Insurance
This coverage can help to cover medical bills for students at your gym. Let’s say you are running a cheer gym or gymnastics facility and an athlete gets injured and they do not have their own insurance – or their medical bills exceed their insurance coverage. That is when your Accident Medical Insurance can kick in.
Excess Liability policies can provide an additional layer of coverage if an accident exhausts your CGL. Like the CGL, various dollar limits of coverage are available in this excess layer.
Business Income (Business Interruption)
Business Income coverage provides help if your business has to close or is unable to operate due to a covered loss. The loss of income suffered by the temporary closure of your business can be claimed under a Business Income policy as long as the closure is caused by a covered loss.
If you have employees, you are likely required to carry Workers’ Compensation coverage to protect them from damages if they are injured, and to protect your business from lawsuits from injured workers.
This coverage is designed for the systems in your building like the HVAC, boiler and machinery, and other mechanical systems. Check with your landlord, though, as they may provide this coverage through your lease. We can do a free lease review for you to help determine if you need this coverage (and others) – simply send us a copy of your lease for us to help!
Consider any other types of unique risks and exposures you have. For example, do you operate a summer camp where kids spend all day with you doing different types of activities? Do you transport children to offsite playgrounds or other locations? Do you bring in outside instructors for clinics with the kids at your facility? All of these activities introduce different exposures – talk to your agent to be sure your policy covers all of your unique risks.
How do I Learn More?
You can call our team of experts today to learn more about insuring gyms, pools, and other fitness areas for the additional risks that active children bring to these spaces. Kids create unique risks, and we understand them – and how you can help to insure your business and manage these child-sized risks that bring big exposures!