by Cassandra R. Elias
In the Spotlight: Waivers Before Playdates -- Have Your Lawyer Call My Lawyer
It might be hard to believe, but some parents are asking for signed waivers or liability releases before allowing other people's children into their home to play or attend birthday parties. While no one wants to be sued, this new trend takes the "play" out of playdate.
All children have the potential to get hurt when they play. Are parents being pushed to worry to the extreme if the other parents are going to sue them over a scraped knee? What about the parents requesting the waiver? Are they not planning to watch the visiting child carefully? Either way, perhaps these are red flags and parents you don't want to hang out with anyway.
The United States is admittedly a litigious country where people "lawyer up" over the smallest of incidents. What makes this trend particularly sad is that it has the potential to end friendships before they even start for children and parents. How can you be friends with someone who just asked you to sign a four page "Release of Liability" to simply walk in their door?
Family law lawyer Nicola Savin tells the Washington Post, "It sounds like an American phenomenon, frankly, and it's a bit alarming. At some birthday parties people are asked to sign waivers, if they're at a paintball place, indoor playground or any kind of activity center…the location itself asks each parent to sign a waiver. That's not unusual. But I've certainly never heard of this occurring in anyone's home."
How would you feel if you were asked to sign a waiver? Would you consider asking a parent to sign a waiver to clear yourself of liability? Would this even hold up in court? Let us know what you think about this trend!