Willlowbrook Homes Assn.

Trampolines. Not to bounce a dead horse, but ...

Posted in: Windsor Hills

This issue is not important to some, but very important to others (on both sides) as really hasn't been mentioned for a while, so forgive me! Some thoughts, and a question or two:

There are a number of issues involved in this discussion.

"Legal" side. Technically, it's a civil issue and not against the "law," but people are right: "if we signed the papers when we moved in, we can't have one until the agreements are changed."

"Change" side. Which brings me to the next issue: What method is in place for changing the rules as the majority of our membership/neighborhood's desires change? The "squeaky wheel" method with petitions seems a bit of a hoop for people to jump through to make any changes. Do we have any other means other than an occasional meeting? The rules should reflect the desires of the majority of the neighborhood in a democratic way. If that changes, the neighborhood should change. Perhaps there are methods in place that I am unaware of?

"Family" side. (opinion time!) We are not a gated, "mature" community. We could be, but we're not. We have a pool that is designed for children. It has big, pretty colors, a nice twisting water slide and a "mushroom" fountain with a "zero-degree" walk-in. We have schools all around us, buses running through us, and kids everywhere. To put rules as to the subjective aesthetic of temporary kids play things on individual's rather expensive property is absolutely rediculous. The visual nature should be legislated on these type of things, not the actual existance. Sure the enforcemenet of things like "slightly visible from the street" or "no bright colors" is pretty subjective as well, but that is the only issue at hand. Visibility. Perhaps we should mandate children screaming as well. That'll turn a potential buyer off as well. Grass color? Shrub varieties and their corresponding colors? How did in-ground basketball goals make it through scrutiny?

Having a little fun, but also wanting to know what people think.

I recently sent out an email addressing the trampoline issue but many of the addresses for the neighborhood were several years old so I am using this forum to post the contents of that email!!

I agree whole heartedly with sonofray's comments and would like to add:

The Windsor Hills covenants clearly state the restriction of trampolines which we were aware of upon purchasing our home 5 years ago. At that time several other homes had them stating that they were given the ok by the developer. It was stated that once the HOA was given over to the homeowners we would be able to vote on which restrictions we  (the majority) wanted as a part of our covenant. This 'hoop jumping' of collecting signatures seems archaic.

The restrictions as they are have taken away our right to give our children access to equipment that would provide them the opportunity to play in the safety of their own backyards. (Face it, we don't live in the kind of society that most of us grew up in where we rode our bikes all over town to play at the parks, etc.) Many of us would like to have something to keep the kids off the computers and video games all the time.  The swingset structures provide the opportunity for backyard play for only so long before children outgrow them. The trampoline serves kids from toddlers to well into their teens (even adults benefit). While you may not want your kids to have one or to play on them, that does not give you the right to make that decision for others.  While convenants are necessary to provide GUIDELINES for keeping neighborhoods in a well maintained state, they cross the boundary of homeowners rights when they start dictating what we can and cannot have in the 'privacy' of our backyards.

If anyone would be interested in helping to collect signatures...please email me at: bethbark@yahoo.com

Thanks!

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  • imustbenuts
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Overland Park, KS
  • 17 Posts
  • Respect-O-Meter: Respected Neighbor

The following replies to this post were comments from several residents, which were forwarded in an email blast from the Homes Association Board President:

As a physician (anesthesiologist), and son of a pediatrician, I would be willing to provide you with some very sobering statistics regarding serious injury (cervical spine and otherwise) due to trampoline use in the pediatric age group.  Such injuries are not rare and isolated.  I have seen firsthand the injuries from trampolines, and it is devastating.  There are plenty of activities that have inherently lower risk that provide the same benefits listed in your email.
I have copied below one article found in a quick search addressing this issue.  In the interest of presenting "both sides of the story", I believe this information should be shared with the same people who were sent your email.  Should this article not be accessible from this email, just do a search on any search engine for "children, trampolines, injuries", etc.  Now, regarding the issue of trampolines and homeowners' assns, I do understand why they are not
allowed.   I can see 5 of them from my back yard.
One...maybe tolerable despite the unsightly (to me) bright blue that stands out.  But 5 of them?  Either way, I am not a paranoid parent who prohibits my children from any activity involving risk.  We take our children hiking, canoeing, biking, traveling out of the country, etc.  and they are only 2 and 4.  I would not allow them to use 4 wheelers, trampolines, motorcycles, or other toys/devices that have been proven to subject a child to excessive risk. 
Sincerely,
Brian Balanoff
http://www.texaschildrens.org/Parents/TipsArticles/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=1586

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  • imustbenuts
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Overland Park, KS
  • 17 Posts
  • Respect-O-Meter: Respected Neighbor

 apologize if this has come through many times, but I am getting send errors each time for many kc.rr.com addresses.

 As an actuary who deals with statistics everyday as part of my job (actually risk assessment is my profession), I must point out that the "statistics" listed below are completely irrelevant to the argument put forth.  The issue is not the number of events occurring, but rather the occurrences of injury per child exposed to the risk. 

 The numbers listed below (note they are numbers not "statistics") are very misleading.  I can provide numbers that show that less than 50 people per year die from jumping from 40+ story buildings.  Do you want to jump since so few die?

 Look at the numbers listed below versus the trampoline numbers.  Please recognize that all but two numbers are quoted for ages 5-14.  Hockey is quoted for ages under 18 and trampolines are listed for under ages 5!!  How many one or two year olds are bouncing on trampolines??  So normalizing simply for age exposure, we would have to triple the amount of injuries to normalize for the ability to generate enough force to be injured (insurance organizations quote that 2/3 of the injuries on trampolines are for ages 6-14 and I exclude 14+).  Think about whom has a greater chance of injury between a 12 year old boy going crazy on a trampoline or a 3 year old who can hardly get their feet off the ground.

 The biggest factor is how many kids have trampolines versus those who play soccer, ride a bike, play baseball/softball, etc.  The exposure to bikes is probably approaching 100% as well as the others are quite high.  How many kids have trampolines versus those who ride bikes or play soccer?  Probably very few.  I would guess this is something near a 10-1 ratio.  This would suggest a number-to-number comparison of 2,400,000 trampoline injuries versus the bike, soccer, and baseball/softball injuries listed below.

 If anyone really wants to challenge the comparisons, I am happy to do the data analysis to support my estimates.  I am confident that my estimates are fairly conservative.

 A very simple thing to recognize is that the American Academy of Pediatrics has requested a ban on trampolines.  How many large organizations can generate a quorum to suggest an unpopular opinion?

    Joe Peterson

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