5 Ways We Prepare our Indoor Playground For Emergencies

5 Ways We Prepare our Play Cafe For Emergencies

These days, especially if you are in the U.S., even minor injuries like a finger jam or a slip and fall can have devastating effects on your small business, so the recreational aspect of an indoor playground makes us especially vulnerable to injuries, lawsuits, and disgruntled customers.

We also of course want to prioritize the safety of our guests as much as we possibly can.

Remaining prepared during any sort of personal-injury emergency should be self-explanatory but it’s, unfortunately, one of those things that we all think is never going to happen to us until it does. That’s why today I want to lay out exactly what we did so that our indoor playground facility is as safe as possible and is prepared for emergencies, and specifically, customer injuries, and I want to share the following 5 tips so you can do the same.

  1. Have a Lawyer review all documentation. 

    Make sure you have a lawyer on your side in your business that will ensure you have the proper coverage (not just what your lease requires) and in proper amounts. Ensure you have all the proper signage, that you and your team know how to use it (for example, if and when to put a “wet floor” sign out), and that no stones are left unturned here.  It might be an investment up front, but it could save you your livelihood in the long run, and not to mention your peace of mind. Proper signage also helps to educate and warn customers of potential hazards and is always beneficial to have!

  2. Make sure all repairs are always taken care of in a timely manner.

    If something breaks or needs a repair, like a floor panel or toy, owners often continue to put it off until someone gets injured. You will likely find in your insurance policy, and your lawyer will tell you, that if you fail to make repairs or fail to provide a safe environment or if they find an injury could have been prevented, it does NOT end well for the business owner. So prioritize repairs and be sure your building is up to all legal and safety codes of your state. This is a difficult one for us because, if something breaks, there is usually a lag between when it breaks and when a replacement item comes. We are continually learning in this regard and striving each day to ensure we are handling the process in the best and safest way possible for our customers.

  3. Have a first aid kit, and know how to use it.

    There are some great kits on Amazon with the essentials like band-aids, gauze, antibacterial wipes, and more- but consider some enhancements to it. I always have single-use ice packs on hand which we use frequently. Parents appreciate how quickly they turn cold and they can take them home if needed which is helpful.

  4. Documentation is key.

    After medical attention is given, be sure to document the entire incident. Have accident reports available, which can be found online or produced by an attorney. Many times, when your insurance carrier is contacted with a claim, they will try and gather all of this information to decide how to handle it. The information you provide may help them decide thow to move forward with the claim. I also always recommend having a full video surveillance system so you can not only verify any claims but also learn of things that could pose a potential hazard (by understanding visually how an incident occurred it’s much easier to fix).

  5. Follow up is important.

    If a child gets a small head bump, you can probably help the parents comfort them at the scene and let it go. However, if a child or adult gets injured, follow up with them if you feel necessary, as long as your lawyer says it's OK. Even if they have no intention of filing a claim, it is a nice touch to check in on them and ensure they are OK.

One more tip: We have a “panic” button under our check-in counter right at the front of our entrance. If pressed, it triggers a silent alarm and the police come right away. Though it’s meant for robberies, we have also used it for other emergencies (though those are rare-- thank goodness!) and have found it immensely helpful.

At the end of the day, preparation for even the tiniest emergency is absolutely key. Everyone on your staff should be trained for emergency procedures and armed with the tools and information to handle whatever may happen during their shift! You don’t want your customer left with an injured child while an employee tries to get you on the phone to handle the situation.

I dive deeper into indoor playground preparation, employee training, and much, much more in my course, Play Cafe Academy. Get started with my free online guide: Opening An Indoor Playground From Daydream to Opening Day!