A recreational nightmare

Jerry Maldonado Contributor
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Call me neurotic, overprotective, even obsessive, but when it comes to children’s safety I believe every parent has a moral obligation to protect their children. I’ve been the butt of jokes for many years for expressing my concern on this issue, but my track record of hospital visits speak for itself.

My experience with hospital visits has been minimal with my oldest hurting herself once due to a track injury. Otherwise, I am not the person who follows the mantra of “kids will be kids.” That will get not only them but you in trouble someday.

Don’t get me wrong on this issue. I’m not some ogre standing above them waiting to crack the whip at every move, children need to explore and have fun in their life. However, it is our job as experienced parents to know the dangers and take precautions if needed, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened recently.

My middle one, whom I call my CEO, had a play date with her sister at a relative’s home. As my children left the car they ran strait for the trampoline with eyes wide open as their feet barely touched the ground. I drove off with a sinking feeling in my stomach, but did not want to interrupt their special day. Then the call came about an hour later.

My oldest was hysterical as she called me with the news that her sister just broke her arm and I needed to get there quickly. I knew by the tone of her voice that this was more than just an arm injury, but something more serious.

I broke; pardon the pun, every law of driving. It seemed every light changed and every driver seemed to follow the speed limit, but I finally arrived, hopped a fence, and found my daughter lying on the trampoline.

Her face had a grayish tone and she did not say a word until she moved her arm that was covering the other. There I saw her once strait arm now broken in half with a hole where the bone came out. It was the most heart-wrenching thing to witness; moreover, I knew she was in trouble. Needless to say, I commend the paramedics who got there quickly and took over to get her the help she needed.

Her recovery will be a long one after such a traumatic injury. Surgeons fixed the damage and she, my daughter, is the proud owner of metal to hold both her bones together in her forearm. Granted, kids take all of this in stride, but the real responsibility lies on the homeowner who has these things in their backyard.

A word of advice to all of my readers, if you want or have a trampoline then you will pay for it. In other words, you need to upgrade your insurance in order to cover yourself should these types of incidents occur. In addition, most insurance companies won’t write new policies if you want to have a trampoline.

These words came strait from my own insurance agent who I interviewed. Most important, the hospital employee’s who see these types of injuries on a daily basis expressed their concern as well. They, (the hospital staff) see trampolines as the most avoidable source of injury and parents should understand this. The legal ramifications could devastate a household.

So this neurotic, overprotective, even obsessive parent now has to deal with a daughter who can’t even dress herself without help. The constant pain and inability to be somewhat self-reliant has taken a toll on her. Most important, she now has a phobia to trampolines.

This is something I can live with along with a crash course in ponytails. As long as she is healthy, nothing else matters.

Jerry Scott Maldonado is the author of “Columns, Quotes & The American Dream.” Tate Publishing Group, due out October 2010. He is a featured columnist for The D.C.G Network of news sites: Sundaynewscape.com, Onequestionnews.com, and Imperialvalleynews.com. Jerry’s work has also been featured internationally.